Creating Habits

Creating new habits like exercising and eating better takes time and practice. Many times most of us are unskilled in how to create new healthy habits. Creating bad habits is sometimes much easier for us. Mainly because there is some immediate gratification which creates a short term feedback loop that feels good to us. Eating that chocolate bar and cup of coffee feels good in the short term because of the great chemicals that the brain releases but over time these types of habits don’t set ourselves up for feeling our best both mentally and physically as the pounds pack on. Over time exercise does start to feel good but those initial visits can leave you sore and not so sure you want to return. The short term gratification is sometimes not as strong with healthier habits, so sometimes it feels like it takes more effort to create those good habits that help me eat better, live more presently, and find balance take time and effort.

 

Too often we feel that we must be successful RIGHT AWAY with a new habit and don’t give ourselves time to implement the whole habit fully. If you are learning to exercise or eat better the first thing you really need to do is: find time.

That’s right. Find time to do these things. That’s it. Spend one week and schedule the time in. Maybe you aren’t sure what exercise program to start with or feel so out of shape that the gym feels too daunting. Find time to walk for 30 mins 5-6 days a week. Start there. If walking for 30 mins is too long. Start with 10 mins.

Want to eat better: plan your meals.

Find the time to plan your meals, shop for you meals and cook the meals.

Ugh…sounds like a lot!! Take it from me…I am not the fondest of cooking…the best way to tackle this is to do a Sunday prep where you prepare all your snacks and meals for the week. I either cook on Sunday or prepare what I will eat for the week with the slow cooker. One day a week sounds like too much still? Try a monthly meal prep day. Yep there are resources out there that help you to cook one day a month so that the rest of the month you don’t have to think about it. Once a month meals has these type of resources. I have considered using this approach but still have yet to execute on this plan, but will probably experiment with this in the near future. If you have tried once a month meals or some other type of once a month cooking, leave a note in the comments and let me know what you think.

How to build a habit: write it down, send yourself a reminder daily, use an app like “Way of Life”. The picture below shows you a screen shot from “Way of Life”. You can set up reminders to check off your habits, but I have found it is a good way to track my habits. There are other habit apps out there, but I have only explored a few. If you have any you think are good, please let me know in the comments.

 

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Overall the biggest thing about habits is finding the time to create them. If you believe you don’t have the time, take a time inventory and find out if that is truly the case. Maybe you do…maybe you don’t. Maybe you need to say no to a few things so that you have more time. Finding balance is a difficult thing to do at times, but in the end saying ‘no’ to things that drain you and ‘yes’ to your health will ultimately make you feel better.

 

Until next time…

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