Making Healthy Lifestyle Changes Stick
Most people want to live a healthy lifestyle, but fail to achieve the state of wellness desired. Its not from lack of trying. If you are like me, it felt like a rollercoaster of new routines, fads and failures. What I have come to learn is this cycle stems from being overly focused on the results and not enough on the process, or journey as I call it.
The process by which we achieve a healthier lifestyle is, by way of establishing habits. Specifically, changing old unhealthy habits into new healthier ones.
Fact is, if you research wellness these days you will find habits are the rage.
One must maintain a new routine for at least a period of 21 days before that new activity becomes a new habit. At least that’s what the experts say.
“Realistically, experts believe it takes about 10 weeks (2 to 3 months) or more to break an unwanted happen. Of course, some habits may take more or less time to break.” -Crystal Rapole.
For me, I can only stick with a new habit if two things occur.
I realize I would rather do this new (healthy habit) because I am dissatisfied enough with my old self that any new activity is better. Or,
I am consistent at maintaining the new activity for 3 months. Any shorter, I fall back to old activities with the slightest push.
Motivation is important but that comes from within. The formation of habits centers on consistency over some time interval. This is true of both good and bad habits. If I eat a bowl of ice cream consistently, every night as I once did, don’t be surprised if you gain weight and need to let your belt out a notch or two.
If you have read down to this point in the post, you are most likely motivated to make some healthy changes to your lifestyle habits. So lets try and add some consistency to our life.
Here is a few ideas to get you started.
To develop a new healthy habit, try going to bed at the exact same time every night, and get up at exactly the same time, every day. Or only eat during set times during the day, not before, not between or after. When you start an exercise routine, don’t let anything interrupt you. Other things can wait. Program you phone or a timer to set up an interval where you drink a cup of water. Whether you are thirsty or not.
Simply put, schedule time to practice wellness in your life until these activities are your lifestyle.
All of that considered you may find with all the benefits you may end up unhappier than you started based on a simple fact. Rigid lifestyle routines can become boring. In other words, your physical health may improve while your mental health may decline or stunt your brain function and diminish your longevity.
“Is it possible that “anti-routine” should also be a regular part of our routines? That might sound contradictory, but research into brain health and longevity suggests that regular experience of novelty is essential to a long, happy life.” -Brian Clark.
Therefore, you should add habitual change to keep up your mental health along with your physical state. By adding new or novel experiences such as trying new meal recipes, reading new books, learning new skills, or just changing up your routine at a set interval can make all the difference between achieving a happier life as well as the desired healthier lifestyle or not.
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