How to Make a Healthy Behavior Change (and Keep it!)

How to Make a Healthy Behavior Change (and Keep it!)

Healthy Behavior

Have you been feeling like your current lifestyle isn’t as healthy as it should be? You’re certainly not alone in this. Mentally, physically, and spiritually, the last year and a half has taken a major toll on people. Many of us are facing challenges that feel stressful, overwhelming, burdensome, and scary. Because of this, you have let your health slide.

Maybe you’re drinking way too much caffeine in order to keep up with the challenges of being pulled in so many directions. Perhaps you’re not falling asleep early enough and then struggling to wake up in the morning. It’s also very common to get into the habit of eating poorly and not exercising enough. Whatever the main cause of your unhealthiness, today is the day to do something different. It’s time to make a healthy behavior change. Not only that, this can be the time you actually stick to it! It’s not nearly as impossible as it may seem.

#1 Determine the Habit You Need to Break

Whether you haven’t been sleeping well or eating the way you know you should, the first step in breaking the habit is identifying what needs to change. Be honest with yourself! Determine where you need to improve, what went wrong to get you into such a rut, what your goal is, and what you can do differently moving forward in order to achieve it.

#2 Write It All Down

Writing down your goals has been proven time and time again to increase your chances of success. In fact, recent research has shown that you’re about 40 percent more likely to succeed if your goals are written down. We know that you’re busy, but you’re never too busy to stop for a few minutes and do some self-reflection. Experts tell us that tangibly seeing your goals written out in front of you makes them more real to you, boosting your chances of remaining accountable to yourself.

It’s important to keep in mind when writing down your goals that you be specific and realistic. “I want to sleep better” isn’t really concrete enough to be a big help. On the other end of the spectrum, “I want to work out for two hours a day, every day this week” may not work for you because it just isn’t realistic with your schedule. Instead, opt for something like “I want to go to bed by 9 pm every night this week” which is both specific and achievable. 

#3 Replace the Old Habit

Let’s say you’re trying to drink less alcohol or eat fewer sweets. It would help if you had something to take your mind off your old habit and replace the feeling it gave you. If you want an instant boost, get moving! If you’re sitting at home, eating cookies and doom scrolling your social media feed over and over again, it’s no wonder you’re starting to feel bad. Aim to go for at least a 30 minute walk, and remember the saying, “even a little is good, but more is better.” Also, be sure to walk at a brisk pace. If you want to have less screen time, head to the library and check out a few books. Set yourself up for success by giving yourself a healthier option than what you’re trying to get away from.

#4 Work Through the Details

Healthy is a daily practice! If you’re not sleeping eight hours a night, that is certainly one we recommend beginning with. Perhaps you’d like to work out five days a week or cook dinner more often and eat out less. Whatever your unique goals are, it’s time to take a serious look at what you can do to achieve them. Let’s say you want to stop pulling through and getting breakfast from a drive-through. In order to replace this bad habit with a healthier one, you will have to determine what you will eat instead, when you’ll prepare breakfast, how long it will take to make it, what ingredients you need, and more. As you’re working through the details, you may see you need to take a trip to the grocery store and go to bed earlier so you can wake up earlier. The more thought you put into establishing the new habit, the easier it will be to execute because you won’t run into anything you hadn’t prepared for.

#5 Hold Yourself Accountable to Others

Don’t keep your healthy living goals private! Research has proven time and time again that external accountability is a hugely-motivating factor. The more we verbalize and discuss our plans, the more responsible we feel for accomplishing them. You don’t want to disappoint your friends and family, which is why this works so well. Tell them you want to get eight hours of sleep every night and ask them to check in with you to see how you’re doing. If you’re tempted to stay up and binge “just one more” episode, you’ll remember that you’ll need to tell your mom you didn’t meet your goal this week.

You can’t fix what’s going on around you, but you can control yourself and how you feel. Keeping yourself healthy goes a long way towards both mental and physical health. Your happiness and overall wellness are worth making a change for. While some aspects of a flourishing lifestyle take time to achieve, like maintaining a healthy weight, other changes can be done in a few minutes, like buying a new premium mattress so you can sleep 8 hours a night with ease. If you’re feeling less than great about your current lifestyle, no matter what the reason, today can be the day that you change it!
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