The first step in wellness is becoming aware of our environment and learning tips on how to become healthier. The second step is taking decisive action to change. We want to develop healthy habits that become a part of everyday life without becoming overwhelmed and giving up in frustration.
Taking incremental small steps allows us to ease into healthy habits until they become a natural part of our life. As we feel better, we become comfortable with our healthy habits and begin an upward spiral momentum of wellness. The following are hints to help us develop good habits:
- Triggers: If you are wanting to eliminate a bad habit first consider what is triggering that habit. Does a specific social situation result in an unhealthy habit? Are you discovering a resistance to change? Are there emotions attached to that habit? Becoming aware of these triggers will help us find solutions in order to change our habits and move forward in our health journey.
- Environment: One of the most crucial steps you can take to ensure success in your health is creating a safe environment for you to thrive. Habits are rarely changed through willpower alone. Clean out your pantry of unhealthy processed foods. Stock your refrigerator with fresh, whole foods. Place reminders of the habit you want to add in a prominent place. I have a cup of individual flossers right next to my toothbrush. Pulling them out of the drawer was too difficult- now they are visibly reminding me to floss every time I brush.
- Have an Alternative: Exchange a bad habit for a good one. If drinking too many sodas is an issue, substitute carbonated water with a splash of fruit juice or fresh lemon. I love chocolate cake and brownies, but when they are not in my home and I substitute with a small square of dark chocolate, I am completely happy.
- Ease into it: Don’t try to change all your habits at once. Very few people can change their lifestyle all in one swoop, and instead will get frustrated, panic and simply give up. Focus on one change at a time and become comfortable with that change before you move on. Sometimes even adjusting a single habit incrementally is the best action. For example, you can switch from regular coffee to decaf, then to tea, then to green tea.
- Add Habits Together: All of us already have some good habits we do every day. Hopefully we all are brushing our teeth. Remember the dental floss trick? Having them available allowed me to add that habit to my already strong tooth brushing habit. Drinking a glass of water when I brush my teeth adds another healthy habit, and taking my morning vitamins when I drink that water adds yet another healthy habit. It only takes a minute, and I have four healthy habits done!