How To Build Healthy Habits And Make Them Permanent
Habits are a part of everyday life. For example, you wake up in the morning and brush your teeth because you have made a habit of brushing your teeth daily for years. The same applies to brushing your teeth at night before you sleep.
So many things in life hinge on habits. It takes developing healthy habits to get in shape, eat healthy, become better at work, build better communication skills, and become an all-around better person. As such, it is not difficult to see why it is necessary for you to learn how to build healthy habits, especially if there are aspects of your life you would like to change.
Below are some strategies to help you build healthy habits.
1. Set up your habit system.
There is such a thing as a habit system. According to research on habit building, habits are formed when there is a trigger to get you started, a desire that needs to be fulfilled by the habit, and a reward for carrying out the action related to the habit.
For example, let us say you are working on getting fit. The trigger could be a daily reminder to go to the gym or to go on a run. This could be in the form of an accountability partner or a workout group. The desire would be to get fit and to get healthier. The reward would be how pleased you feel that you have gotten healthier and how certain things seem more effortless for you.
Setting up your habit system involves:
- Identifying and setting up a daily trigger for yourself.
- Letting the desire influence you to carry out an action related to the habit.
- Setting up a reward system that allows you to acknowledge the benefits of the habit.
2. Start Small
After setting up your habit system, the next step is to get started. There is often the temptation to take on so much when you get started. For example, many people make the mistake of working out for long hours when they get started at the gym. The problem with this is that many times, the effort put in does not equal the reward. As such, it would be easy for them to lose interest.
This is why it is important to start small. Do a little at a time. As the habit forms, you can add on more things.
3. Focus on one habit at a time.
Let’s assume the goal is to get fit. This would entail eating less junk food, taking a daily run, switching out soda for water. Instead of trying to do it all at once, focus on one, build a habit from there and add on the next one. Also, start with the easiest one.
4. Make it a daily practice.
One of the best ways to build a habit is to do it consistently for 21 days. With this in mind, it would help for you to practice the action you want to make a habit daily. For example, if you want to be a better friend, making a daily practice of checking up on a friend would go a long way in helping you form that habit.
While building healthy habits, it is important to note that you are a human being and that there may be times you slip up. Instead of beating yourself up for these slip-ups, be kind to yourself and decide to carry on with building the habit. Be patient with yourself as you use the strategies above to build healthy habits.