The little things we do every day can really add up. That’s especially true when it comes to our health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, it is easy to slip into bad behaviors that become normalized over time. We may not realize we are doing them or know how harmful they are until they are ingrained in our daily routine.
In fact, many adults recognize that they need to make positive changes, but don’t know how to get started. Others try and end up failing, which can lead to a frustrating cycle of wanting to change but never quite getting to where they want to be.
Maintaining the human mind and body takes effort. It’s an ongoing process. The good news is that it gets easier as those good behaviors become habits. Avoid the cycle of failure by applying the following methods to start living better right now.
Be Aware of Your Routine
Before you make any changes, you should make sure you are aware of your current routine. What habits do you currently have? Do any of them need to change? Brushing your teeth is a good habit to have, and one that may already be established. However, having a few drinks every day isn’t a good habit and one you may have to actively try to stop.
You should also identify your triggers and possible obstacles that could push you toward a bad habit. For example, if you are a smoker, then you may be inclined to go on smoke breaks with a friend even if you don’t want a cigarette.
This could encourage you to smoke more when you want to smoke less. Find a way to disrupt the pattern. That could mean not going on those extra smoke breaks or bringing a bottle of water instead of a cigarette.
Make a Plan for Yourself
If you want to achieve anything, you need to have a plan. That’s true for personal, financial, and health goals. In this case, your plan should include ways that you will avoid triggers or situations that will encourage you to fall back into old habits.
While this may sound counterintuitive, your plan should also include a way to deal with failure. It’s not easy to shake a bad habit. It can be even harder to start again if you have a plan and then fail to follow it. Make sure your plan has something in it to get you back on track. It’s ok to stumble as long as you stand up and get going again.
Monitor Progress to Stay on Track
You should continue to monitor progress as you work through your plan. This will help you identify obstacles before they have a chance to throw you back into a bad habit. It will show you improvements, which are great for motivation.
Writing things down is a good way to go. You can use pen and paper or something more convenient, like a tracking app on your phone or computer.
Even if you feel like you’re going to fail or just had a misstep, keep recording your progress. This information can teach you even more about yourself and how to stop bad habits in the future.
Focus on Reaching Your Goals
Keep your eye on the prize by focusing on your goals. Some bad behaviors become habits because of instant gratification. A person isn’t thinking about future consequences when they can enjoy something right now, like smoking, overeating, or drinking.
Learn to postpone gratification by focusing on the future. Think about how these positive changes will reward you. This will help you be more mindful of the decisions you make and give you more power to fight temptation.
Start By Making Small Changes
You may have several things that you want to change. Making big changes is great, but make sure you are being realistic about it. Doing too much too fast can lead to failure. Instead, begin by making smaller changes that are more manageable.
Start with one or two things you would like to improve. Give yourself time to turn those changes into good habits. For example, if you want to lose weight, dramatically altering your diet right away isn’t a great idea. It can lead to health issues and cause you to struggle mentally and physically as you cope with the sudden change.
Start doing smaller things like portioning food and switching to healthier snacks. Get a glass of water instead of grabbing a soda. Let these changes sink in for a while before adding new ones.
This process may sound like it takes longer, but it allows the mind and body to adapt and increases your chances of long-term success.
Keep It Positive
Try to stay as positive as you can – even if you face a setback. Your attitude has a powerful impact on what you do. Remain optimistic about the future and reaching your goals.
Being positive doesn’t mean you won’t face negativity. It means that you are going to react in a good way and not let negative thoughts control your life. No matter what else you want to change, staying positive is a great habit for anyone to form.
Be Patient with Yourself
If you had a friend who was trying to change and experienced failure, what would you say to them? Would the words you say to your friend be different from those you say internally to yourself when you fail?
Be kind and patient with yourself. Building good habits is challenging. It takes time, effort, and commitment. Those around you who have achieved your goals most likely faced adversity and setbacks as well.
Beating yourself up isn’t going to make you feel good or motivated. It is more likely to make you want to give up. So instead, think about what you would say to a close friend in your situation and use those same words on yourself.
Rely on Your Support Network
The people who love and care about you want you to be successful. You aren’t alone when you try to make changes. Don’t be afraid to open up to loved ones about your plan. They can serve as additional motivation and support as you navigate the process.
Friends and family will also be more likely to help you avoid temptations and encourage you on your journey if they know your plans. It’s a great boost of morale support that can help you push through difficult moments. There is even a good chance that someone you know has also gone down this path and may be able to provide advice or encouragement.
Every decision you make today has the potential to affect you in the future. Make sure you choose wisely and do what’s best for you now and the older you later on. If you have questions about forming good habits or would like suggestions for safe ways to make healthy changes, let us know. Visit Complete Women’s Healthcare now and schedule an appointment.