A new year means a new beginning—a time to become a happier, healthier person by forming new habits. A habit is an acquired behavior pattern that you follow so regularly that it becomes almost involuntary. Your environment is usually arranged in a way to support that habit. Here are some ways you can develop a healthy habit:
Stack Your Habit: Tie the new habit you are trying to develop to an already established habit. Find patterns in your day (any pattern in your daily life is a habit) and figure out how to use an existing pattern to create a new, more positive one. For example, if you want to develop a habit of exercising, start by doing five push-ups every time you go to the bathroom.
- Start Small: It makes the formation of the habit less overwhelming and does not require an extreme amount of motivation that can often be difficult to sustain in your day-to-day. For example, doing a 1-minute meditation while you brush your teeth can be the building block to being more mindful and practicing gratitude.
- Do It Every Day: Habits take a long time to create. Typically, between 13 to 254 days, with an average of about two months. But the more often you do them, the faster they form. That is why it’s more important to be consistent with a smaller activity every day than a more intense form of that activity a couple of times a week.
- Make it Easy: People stop forming healthy habits when obstacles present themselves in the early stages of creating the habit. Therefore, make it as easy as you can to eliminate any barriers so you can do the activity daily. For example, if you plan on going on a run in the morning, sleep in your running clothes so you only need to put on your shoes when the time comes.
- Reward Yourself: If the reward is more long-term, build an immediate reward into it. For instance, when you brush your teeth, the reward is fresh, minty breath. But when your reward takes longer to achieve, building in smaller prizes, like watching your favorite show while on the treadmill, will make the formation of healthy habits less daunting and more successful.
It’s time to be happier and healthier in 2021!
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