A habit is an automatic response formed by constant repetition of an action.
Habits come in all shapes and sizes; they can be good or bad, right or wrong, they can be physical actions and they can also show up as emotional responses.
Examples of habits:
- Brushing your teeth before bed
- Having a cigarette after a meal
- Over-eating as a response to stress
- Walking the same route to get the morning paper
- Two beers at the end of every working day
- Going to bed at midnight
Through continuous repetition of actions which started as a conscious process, often people, particularly adults who have been repeating the same actions for years, do many things during an average day without even thinking about why they’re doing them.
If you’re living an inactive lifestyle with a poor diet, you could be putting your health in danger for no reason other than out of habit.
Your mum used to give you dessert after every meal when you were a kid, so you’ve followed suit; fish wouldn’t be fish unless it were accompanied by hot chips and two sugars in your coffee is the way you’ve always drunk it… the list of bad habits that people have goes on and on, and they are quite literally making many people sicker by the day.
The good news!
While you might have many bad habits in your life today, it is entirely possible to remove these and exchange them for good habits by following the same process that was used to create them – check out our article here if you want to know how.
The problem that many people make when considering a healthy lifestyle is trying to change too many habits at one time. Often, you see people make a good start but fall off the wagon quite early into a new lifestyle because they are overwhelmed with so much change.
Just like puppies; a healthy lifestyle is for life not just for Christmas, so when you consider making changes to your nutrition or exercise program any changes made should be done so with the frame of mind that they’re permanent, not temporary.
As experts in helping people create a healthy lifestyle, we both agree that the most efficient way to create a long-term healthy lifestyle that’s sustainable is to change habits one at a time.
Once you’ve created one habit; start on another area, and then another. Complete that process until you’ve reached your first short-term goal, and then continue to your next milestone. With this strategy in place, before you know it you’ll have overhauled your life without the overwhelming feeling that everything’s too different and giving up altogether.
Here are our top three habits that should be changed one at a time to give you your healthiest life yet.
1) Reduce Your Portion Size
Many adults are in the habit of filling big dinner plates with food, and then eating it all!
Before you even tackle the nutritional content of what’s on your plate, get used to smaller portions by using a side plate to serve your main meals if necessary. An adult stomach is roughly the size of a clenched fist, and while it can expand to up to 40 times this size to accommodate big meals, that expansion on an ongoing basis leads to weight gain and excess pressure on the organs. Get used to eating no more than a fist full of food at any one sitting and as your stomach shrinks back to its correct size, you’ll need less food.
When you are used to that, then move on to the nutritional value of what’s on your plate.
2) Move Every Day
You don’t need to start a strict, regimented exercise program as a beginner, but do get used to moving every day. Set yourself a time for a walk around the local park and get in the habit of doing this when you first wake up, after work, or at any time that suits your schedule. Once you get up and go without thinking about it, then you can choose a more intensive program to suit your goals.
3) Think Positively
Just as you can train your actions, you can also train your thought process. Instead of thinking that it’s too hard to live an active lifestyle, that healthy food is boring, or that you’re going to die anyway so why not have a good time while you’re here, flip that thinking on its head!
Healthy living greatly enhances your quality of life and being active improves energy levels and reduces your chance of suffering from long-term chronic illness. You and your family deserve to live the best life possible, and while making changes requires some thought, it’s not hard as you’ve always thought it to be; it’s good fun, it’ll make you feel great and it’s the best thing you’ll ever do!
Check out our article on How To Break Bad Habits here.