We are all creatures of habit. We tend to wake up at the same time each day, brush our teeth, have morning coffee and commute to work, following the same patterns every day. However, due to the recent events around the COVID-19 outbreak, these "old" habits have crumbled along with the system from which we built them around. Now is the perfect time to build "new" healthy habits.
So why is it so hard to form new healthy habits?
Behavioral scientists who study habit formation say that many of us try to create healthy habits the wrong way. Usually at the beginning of the new year or new season, we make bold resolutions to start exercising or lose weight, for example, without taking the steps needed to set ourselves up for success. What are these steps and how can you utilize them today to make a lasting change?
Here are some tips, backed by research, for forming new healthy habits:
Start small. Taking a daily short walk, for example, could be the beginning of an exercise habit. Or, putting an apple in your bag every day could lead to better eating habits. B.J. Fogg, a Stanford University researcher and author of the book “Tiny Habits,” notes that big behavior changes require a high level of motivation that often can’t be sustained. He suggests starting with tiny habits to make the new habit as easy as possible in the beginning.
Practice daily. Habits take a long time to create, but they form faster when we do them more often, so start with something reasonable that is really easy to do, daily. For example, if you are trying to improve your mental health, perhaps writing in a journal daily is a good place to start.
Make it easy. We are more likely to form new habits when we clear away the obstacles that stand in our way. Packing your gym bag and leaving it by the door is one example of this. Pre-cutting and preparing a healthy meal ahead of time is another. Keep it simple and you are more likely to do it.
Make it fun and rewarding. Rewards are an important part of habit formation. When we brush our teeth, we immediately experience a minty fresh mouth. Do the same when creating you plan to change your habits, find a reward that offers satisfaction, such as creating a motivational playlist for you exercise routine.
Find support. We are more likely to form new habits when we have a support network. Think...Weight Watchers. This program is immensely successful not just because it's simplicity, but rather the weekly group meetings. Being with like-mind people on the same journey is a key to success in habit formation, plus it helps keep you accountable. So, when you want to change a habit, find your support.
Looking to change your habits in this time of uncertainty? Watch for Soul Restoration's "21-day Wellness Challenge and Giveaway" to start soon. Subscribe below to our email or follow us on Facebook here to learn more!