What can you do to form healthy habits?

If you’re asking about forming healthy habits, my guess is that you are probably less than happy with your current ones. Don’t stress! Most of have a least a couple of things we’d like to change, and we all can totally do it.

So how do you form healthy habits for yourself? There any number of ways to set yourself up with a new habit. Regardless of your method of remembering to do a new thing, here are a few points to keep in mind to set yourself up for success.

One step at a time

When it comes to getting healthy, it’s super normal to want to make a whole bunch of changes all at once. DON’T.

Since your brain is an energy-conserving machine, it likes habits. Your brain cells use a lot less energy to complete habitual activities; it’s essentially on autopilot. On the other hand, every new thing you do requires conscious thought (sometimes a lot of it) and that takes more fuel. It can also be emotionally uncomfortable. This is a double-whammy for your brain. You can make it easier by putting all that conscious thought into getting a single habit set in stone, instead of splitting your attention across a whole bunch of new things.

Be nice to yourself

Setting up a new habit is often a process of “two steps forward, one step back”. This is in part due to your brain’s desire to do the easiest, most energy-efficient things. But it’s also commonly due to life being unpredictable. Sometimes our best laid plans can fall by the wayside when we have to stay late at work or your kid gets sick, or any other number of life curveballs. When this happens, it’s important to be kind to yourself instead of beating yourself up for not sticking with things. You can start again, anytime. Each fresh start – really, each time you stick with your new habit – it will get more comfortable for your brain, and easier to come back to.

Is it this right for you?

If you’re struggling to consistently stick with a new activity, you might want to consider whether this activity is the right one for you at this point in life. Is this new habit going to take too much time? Do you enjoy it (versus feeling like you should do it)? Is it going to give you what you want? Questions like these are important to consider, though it’s also important to remember that there are no wrong answers. Be honest with yourself. And get comfortable knowing that sometimes new habits take some work. If you’re doing it for the right reasons, they’ll be worth it!

2 responses to “What can you do to form healthy habits?”

  1. […] to do instead: Tweak your new year resolution to match your “normal” daily routine. Take into account the time you spend working, […]

  2. […] While these automatic behaviours save us a lot of time and mental effort, not all habits are helpful. I used to head straight for a snack when I got home from work, even if I wasn’t actually hungry. Not super useful! But with a change in mindset, we can turn our less-useful habits into more useful healthy habits. […]

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