How can we ensure that we make How can we invite healthy habits into our lives and make them feel like second nature? Most of us are just winging it from day to day. If you are having a good day, you have a plan for your day that includes a few healthy habits like hitting the gym or a social gathering with your friends. Yet by the end of the day, you only managed to accomplish half of what you planned. You got tired or distracted by a Netflix show.
Some days are better than others, but consistency is what matters. The problem is that we think knowing why something is important and wanting it to be done is not enough.
What is the key to healthy habits becoming a natural part of your life?
Daily routines help to make behaviors effortless and easy. Once we get into the swing of things, we have to put very little thought into the new behavior. Our brain is constantly searching for patterns and frameworks to help integrate new information. And the most important aspect of helping the brain learn a new framework is with repetition and consistency.
Restructure Your Life
This sounds daunting, but in order to successfully repeat and adopt a new behavior, you’ll have to minimize other areas of your life that could cause friction between your new desired habit and your old one. By clearing up space in your life for something you know will benefit you in the long run, you’ll give yourself a better chance to maintain the new healthy habit. With repetition and consistency, this new action will phase out the old, become automatic and transform into your new routine over time.
Specify Your Intention
Implementation intentions specify which action you want to complete and what you are going to do to make it happen.As an example, instead of saying you will run for 30 minutes, try “I will run for 30 minutes on the treadmill at the gym at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”
Try Habit Stacking
Habit stacking is an efficient way to create an effortless, maybe even time saving, routine. Rather than using time and place as your cue to perform a specific behavior, this method links an existing habit in your routine with a new one.
For example, if you frequently tell yourself that you will watch television after an hour-long workout on the elliptical, but frequently skip the elliptical component, try stacking those habits by watching television during your workout. Doing so will ensure you incorporate this positive habit with something you do daily and will likely save you some time overall