We can all agree that it would be nice to have everything run on autopilot. Chores, exercise, eating healthy and getting your work done just happening automatically without temptations and everyday normal problems popping up putting us on the spot against our new goals and routines.
People know they want to change — know they need to change — but they resist, even to their own detriment, says psychologist Scott Bea, PsyD. “We are comfort-craving critters and that leads us to some compulsive bad habits,” he says.
Poor food choices and a lack of getting up and moving is leading to obesity becoming one of the greatest health issues in modern society. The problem with any diet, is that they do not teach people the difference between good and bad eating habits for example. Whether it's binge-watching Netflix instead of taking advantage of getting outside or devouring entire bags of chips because you realized you were mindlessly eating again, we all have areas of life that could use a tune-up.
Despite this, with some planning, effort and focus, we can all change our bad habits. It’s worth it with all the potential benefits, including longevity, a model for future behavioral changes and enhanced self-esteem. Listening to your inner voice is a good idea when it comes to eating behavior in general for example. Are you really hungry, or do you merely have a hankering for something?
But how long does it take to break a bad habit and how can you build good and bad ones? Whether you want to quit smoking, eat better or take on some other habit-breaking or habit-making, I have put together this list of steps to help you or a friend break this vicious bad habit cycle.
IDENTIFY YOUR TRIGGERS
Clearly define what bad habit you want to break, and what triggers you to engage in the habit. What is going on emotionally when you are biting your nails? When you know what’s behind it, such as underlying anxiety, you can work to address it.
Having a habit means you tend to do it without thinking about it. So one of the first strategies for breaking a habit is to pay attention to what you are doing and how you feel about it.
According to psychology research, when we act mindfully and really focus on the bad part of a behavior, we are more effective at being able to get rid of a bad habit, even one as addictive as smoking.
PREPARE FOR DISCOMFORT
Whether your goal is weight loss, better nutrition, improved physical fitness or another lifestyle change, some of the best ways to break bad habits is to prepare yourself to feel uncomfortable.
GET THE RIGHT KIND OF MOTIVATION
One important factor in changing bad habits is getting the right kind of motivation and support from your family and friends. Habits can be very addicting. If you are spending time with people who share those habits, they will be harder to break. Since you can’t change others, you may need to change where and with whom you spend your time.
As you begin changing your bad nutritional habits, don’t forget to reward yourself for your successes. Give yourself extra privileges as a reward for sticking to healthy meals. This will serve to reinforce your new habits.
SET REALISTIC GOALS
People often take on more than they can handle. They promise to use a treadmill every day, but instead of starting off slow, they run for 30 minutes the very first time. Not only can this result in physical injury, but it can lead them to immediately stop using the treadmill. Rather than making monumental effort, it’s important to adopt incremental goals.
Now that you've begun to act, you must be consistent. Your consistency will start to form lifestyle changes that you're willing to stick with. Psychology has proven that repeated behaviors that are reinforced will eventually turn into habits. Reinforcement is essential because there will definitely be obstacles and opportunities to suffer from a relapse.
Some people arrive at the maintenance stage and remain there with no problem, but most people aren't that successful the first time around, and that's just life. It's perfectly normally, so if it happens to you, don't get discouraged!
It may not happen overnight, but with enough determination, you can take charge of your life and form healthy habits instead.
Cultivating and growing your overall wellness builds resilience, reduces the risk of illness, and ensures positive interactions on a daily basis. Your well-being not only affects your life, it also influences others you are closely connected to.
Investing in your health and wellness can start at any age and is a lifelong process. The goal should always be to make tweaks to make the action become a realistic lifestyle for you. We must make time for things that are “necessary” but also allow this new behavior and new lifestyle to enter the conversation of longevity, well-being and necessity.
Stop looking for the perfect diet or the perfect combination of foods. Eat in a very healthy way but allow yourself to have one favorite food, in moderation, every single day. Don’t try to completely change your life in one day. Although it might seem simple to make those changes, it is extremely hard to keep up with them.
One of my favorite parts of the whole process is to search and get to know more about products that fit into my fit lifestyle and are on the same page as me in terms of longevity in what I do. I might be a professional swimmer now and somehow be ‘forced’ into watching my diet and what goes into my body, but I know for a fact that one day when I don’t swim anymore I will still be very worried and concerned about my health.
I always say that in order to make any new habit easier to do, we should always start with an incredibly small new thing that isn’t reliant on motivation and willpower. Motivation comes and goes, and willpower is something that is easily exhausted as it is used throughout the day. A new habit needs to be so easy and simple that an individual can’t say “no” to doing the habit, it’s just naturally achieved. Everyone is unique. Not everyone requires a fully scheduled day to reap the health benefits of a routine, so make the choices that work for you, knowing they’ll only make you healthier and more efficient with your time.
Identifying barriers and challenges ahead of time can be an effective way to address them before they become overwhelming. I know it can be super easy to give up on goals and new habits when life gets challenging. That’s why it’s critical to remind yourself that a day or even a week of setbacks will not ruin your path to achieving your new goals.
Remembering to always look forward by envisioning what life might look like if you stick to your new habits and make the changes necessary to live more healthfully and in line with your values and aspirations. These are the things that will keep your hope, motivation and enthusiasm for achieving your goals at a high level throughout the process of change.
With the increase in demand, the availability for natural and organic products of all types has also increased so it shouldn’t be hard to find substitute foods and drinks for what you already have been consuming. Things such as “Low-sugar”, “No Artificial”, and “zero calories” should do the work in getting your attention, but make sure you read the labels and be aware if the packages are lying or not.
Luckily the availability for low-sugar natural products has been on the rise and I have been able to refuel and replenish my body with the right amount of calories, vitamins and electrolytes while staying on track of my lifestyle goals. Products such as Hydra Guard Sports Drink are available on the market and online and they help me on a daily basis with my training routine.
In case you are like me and like to practice sports or physical activities on a daily basis, there are electrolyte replacement products available that are low-sugar and low-calories. Hydra-Guard Sports Drink for example is a great way of replenishing your essential electrolytes after a workout but keeping the calorie count low and consuming only 5g of natural sugars per bottle.
Head to their website and use the code Joao10 for a special discount, and I also recommend you to subscribe to their newsletter because they are always releasing special codes for even higher discounts on their products.