Habits are all too often considered bad things. They get a bad rap for being associated with poor health choices like smoking, biting your nails, or jaywalking. The thing that makes a habit so bad when it comes to negative behavior is exactly what makes it great when it comes to positive behavior: habits are hard to shake!!
Understand Your Patterns
Patterns are a fact of life on this planet. They exist in nature and help us understand different organisms and how biological processes function. Patterns also exist in human behaviors and provide great insight into the way that people will respond to certain situations and stimuli. This does not mean that patterns in behavior somehow predetermine one’s actions, but they can help understand when and how both positive and negative actions will repeat themselves in a person’s life.
When it comes to health, some negative patterns could include things like eating late at night, staying up and watching tv, or sleeping in instead of making that gym class. Understanding what your patterns are is the first step in not getting trapped by them and doing something different in the name of positive health.
Lay Out a Plan
Once you understand your patterns, it’s planning time. Grab a pen and paper and start coming up with ways to break bad habits and make new habits using some of the hobbies that you most enjoy or the skills that you most excel at. For example, if you bird watch for fun, schedule out a full month worth of outings specifically for times that you would usually veg out in front of the television. Putting plans like these on paper aso serves as a great visual reminder of what you are committing to.
Take it Slow
It is very important to realize when developing positive health habits that nothing comes quickly. In fact, most studies on habit building demonstrates that it takes an average of 66 days for a habit to develop, good or bad. This means that you can not be in a hurry to get to the finish line and need to focus instead on consistent engagement until good health becomes your second nature.
Be Kind to Yourself
All too often, this type of venture can result in a lot of self-criticism when a habit does not develop as quickly as you might want or when you do not necessarily see the results you expected. This is normal and in instances like this, it is important to always be kind to oneself and be your own biggest advocate. Putting yourself down for letting one day lapse on a workout plan is ultimately going to damage your long-term progress more than it will help it.
Get in touch if you find yourself running into issues with sticking to your self-improvement plan. A well-timed massage is also a great way to incorporate self-love into your life so consider adding it to the list of habits that you should have no problem developing now.