Our habits can make or break our goals – whether we want to run a half marathon, lose ten pounds, or eat healthier, it all depends on how we spend our time. You get busy, and as time inches toward your race day or scheduled weigh-in, you haven't really made any progress.
Creating a new healthy habit can make a massive difference in how much energy you have throughout the day and how you feel physically and mentally. When you want to carve out a new habit in your daily schedule, here is the blueprint to building new healthy habits.
What are Your Current Habits?
Habits are repetitive, automatic things we do every day, almost without thinking. We have bad habits, like snacking when the television is on, and good habits, like loading the dishwasher after eating.
You can replace unhealthy habits with positive habits by recognizing triggers that act as a catalyst to unhealthy behaviour. Be more aware of the automatic things you do throughout the day and understand what prompts those behaviours.
Make a Plan for Better Habits
You don't get very far by starting your half marathon training by running a half marathon. When you don't meet the goal, you'll feel discouraged and maybe even abandon the goal altogether.
Make small, attainable goals to start and work your way up. You'll get a boost of motivation every time you hit your milestone goal and will be more likely to keep up the habit. It's also important to plan for things to go wrong – prepare for the unexpected when you are most likely to revert back to old bad habits.
Instant results of a new habit are a rarity. Chances are, your habits won’t get you to your long-term goal for a while. Without patience and mindfulness, you can lose sight of the big picture, so it’s important to have check-ins with your habits.
Using rewards as you develop your habit can reinforce behaviours. If you complete your month’s training schedule, you can treat yourself to a massage or a movie night. Giving yourself little rewards can be a good motivator and make you feel accomplished at the same time.
Building new habits, and defeating old ones, will take time. It’s not going to be perfect – there will be setbacks and obstacles, but by identifying bad habits, planning, and setting up rewards, you can make positive changes to your daily life and wellbeing.