NUTRITION BITES: Bad habits and how to break them
In a society where day to day life runs like clockwork, it’s easy to get lost in the daily grind. From poor eating habits, lacking exercise routines or productivity issues, a long-term change can prove itself a challenge. Habits are the foundation of our behaviors and lifestyle. It’s often difficult to come to a realization of certain habits when they are so ingrained in our daily routines. Unhealthy habits can develop without even knowing it.
Changing habits is possible, though not always easy. Providing that one magic solution that ensures success is simply not realistic. Just as everyone is unique in their own characteristics, the path of transitioning into a new habit can vary from person to person. However, there are some general strategic cues to follow when looking to tackle some poor habits for a better overall lifestyle.
Discover your patterns: It helps to identify and isolate a particular behavior before going straight into change. Finding the triggers that cause a particular habit is a great starting point in preventing a particular habit from happening. It takes knowing your routine inside and out in order to implement solutions to overcome it.
“Winging it” won’t prove itself very useful when looking to change lifestyle. Once a poor habit has been identified, it’s important to organize a plan to attack it. Set one goal to accomplish instead of many to minimize intimidation. For example, in the case of eating healthier, make a simple swap a bag of chips for some fruit. This tends to work out better than giving yourself broad instructions to “eat better.” Small steps are easier to follow and are less intimidating overall.
Developing a new lifestyle doesn’t come instantly. For the average person, it takes six months of dedicated effort, especially when it comes to overcoming a habit like smoking. Maintaining the dedication is the hard part. Do what it takes to keep it up—keep a journal, look for social support with a group or another like-minded individual, avoid negative self-talk and counter with constant positive words of encouragement. Reward yourself after certain milestones have been reached. If it reinforces your motives, use whatever works.
Changing habits is easier once it has been identified. Understanding the problem leads to a better chance to restructure it. Often, making the change permanent is the hard part. Just as it sounds, a lifestyle change changes your life. Since it’s not a temporary escape, it will constantly be tempting to fall back into old habits. Always take small steps and look forward to the big picture of your purpose. When looking back on progress, savor your efforts. Maintain your motivation in ways that work the best for you. Putting all these tools together sets up success in the long-term.