It seems so easy to develop bad habits, so why is it so hard to keep healthy ones? Behavioral scientists say that we try to make healthy habits the wrong way. We make our goals too big without knowing the steps to get there. Here’s how to build healthy habits.
How to Build Healthy Habits
These tips are backed by research, so you know they are good.
Stack Your Habits
Try adding a new habit to one you already have. For example, morning habits tend to be our strongest. Along with your morning cup of coffee, try to do a minute of mediation while it cools. You could practice balancing while brushing your teeth by standing on one foot.
Do some stretches or exercises while watching TV. You can do it during commercials.
Start Small and Easy
People’s biggest mistake is to start too high and discourage themself. Big goals need a high level of motivation that can be hard to keep up.
Start with small habits that will be easy to keep up with. Like, eating an apple instead of a bowl of chips or going for a walk to start a new exercise regimen.
Do exercises that don’t require leaving the house like sit-ups or jumping jacks. If you want to do something a little more extreme, try sleeping in your exercise clothes, that way you can just roll out of bed and get going.
Do It Every Day
British researchers looked at how people form habits in the real world. They asked people to choose a simple habit they wanted to build. The researchers found that the amount of time it took for the task to become automatic, aka a habit, was anywhere between 18 to 254 days. The average was 66 days.
Needless to say, habits take a long time to make. That’s why it’s crucial to start small. You’re more likely to keep doing little things than work out for an hour every day.
Every time you keep a good habit is a cause of celebration. While some of the big goals make take a while to get to, you should reward every small benchmark you reach. Listen to audiobooks while running or watch your favorite show. Eat a special meal when you reach for a certain small goal.
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