How To Build Healthy Habits
How to Develop Healthy Habits, and Build Confidence
By Siarra T. Mong
According to a 2009 study from the University College, London, it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit. Applying awareness through discipline, meditation, resolve, good intention, and mindfulness produces the best environment to capitalize on the brain’s ability to create change.
There are many steps you can take to regain control over your well-being. With simple repetition, and giving yourself time to incorporate new habits into your life you will be able to successfully form new behavior patterns.
Below, you will find a few suggestions to help you create new habits. Believe it or not, but once a new habit is formed you will find yourself doing it unconsciously, and actually feel like you have time for more things in your life!
Number 1: Where do you stand today?
Get a physical, and self-assess your daily stress levels. From there you will be able to work with your health advisors as well as your own intuition to discover what fitness routines, mindfulness practices, and other lifestyle changes you want to incorporate into your life.
Keep in mind that no matter where you begin, you will be able to make improvements with concerted effort. There are no obstacles that can withstand persistence, diligence, and a grounded mindset. Don’t be afraid of what you can achieve.
To set goals, you’ll need to gain perspective on your life. Does looking at the big picture help? Change is never easy, but it helps to see what needs to be changed so, you know what goals you need to set. Be honest with yourself.
Number 2: What’s first?
What really, really needs to get done? What have you been putting on the back burner that would really make you feel good to spend some time working on? What are your daily strengths, and weaknesses? You can’t do it all at once. Narrow it down to, 1 to 3 things.
Identify your biggest challenges like procrastinating at work, getting to bed on time, overeating, etcetera. This will help you on your journey. Look at the times when you feel disappointed in yourself or unhappy with your actions. In those moments, you will find that these areas are places to give attention.
Spend a few minutes a day doing something you really enjoy like hanging out with the dog, spending time outdoors, or working on a favorite hobby. Focus on positive actions, and how good doing them makes you feel. Learn to appreciate the moments in your life.
Number 3: What are your negative habits?
What are your obviously bad habits? List them out. Then focus on the less obvious negative behaviors like sitting most of the day at work or not getting enough sleep. Be honest with yourself.
If you are not giving your full attention to developing these new habits you may have a harder time getting them to be a regular part of your life. Make sure you are implementing changes at the right time in your life when you can give their achievement enough energy. You do not want to demoralize yourself with non-achievement because you can not give it your full attention.
Set time aside to see yourself achieving your desired goal. See yourself living that reality. This technique has helped many people make better decisions in their daily lives that put them on a general path towards their desired outcomes.
Number 4: Make changes progressively.
The initial purpose of creating goals is to get the brain to successfully complete a self-directed task. Do activities that increase your free will, and your ability to follow your desires will grow. Often, people are indoctrinated in ways that rob them of their ability to make personally satisfying choices.
Make the goals simple at first. Take the stairs at work or while shopping rather than the elevator. Small achievements build into large accomplishments. Get yourself use to succeeding. Nothing is too small.
Find the deeper reasons for things. Ask yourself why do you overeat or procrastinate? Is it a habit grown from boredom, fear, joy or something else? At the end of the day, it becomes a game of learning how to outsmart yourself so you can delay any negative impulses, and perform positive alternatives instead.
Number 5: Congratulate yourself on your successes!
Every day you will be faced with making the choice to either persist or abandon your goal. The brain makes the neural connections stronger each time you repeat an action (positive or negative).
Executive control is the name for your brains process of making beneficial choices. This means choosing a thought or action to meet an internal goal, is managed by the brain’s prefrontal cortex. The orbitofrontal cortex, and amygdala play roles in regulating decision-making based on the memory of feelings. Also, regions of the midbrain, where the neurotransmitter dopamine is predominant, influence decision-making as well.
We may overindulge in chocolate cake because we tend to value the short-term outcome we know (deliciousness) over the long-term outcome we have never experienced (weight loss, and increased energy from better nutrition). One way to break that cycle is to reward ourselves in a different way. Instead of eating cake, we can go play a game or listen to music.
REMEMBER TO HAVE FUN!!!