5 Steps To Creating A Healthy Habit
It’s safe to say that most of us are creatures of habit. We wake up at the same time. Eat the same breakfast. Drive the same way to work. Partake in the same activities. Yet, it’s hard to introduce new habits into our routine. And even though we’ve all heard the magic ‘21 day’ approach, we still fail to implement new, healthy habits into our lifestyle.
Research shows that many of us who try to create healthy habits go about it the wrong way. We shoot for the stars when we only need to shoot for the moon. For example, we’ll decide to exercise more and sign up for a gym membership without a second thought. Suddenly, two months have passed, and you haven’t made it to the gym since. While a go big or go home approach may work for some, many behavioral scientists agree that’s not the right way to go about it.
Our St. Cloud Surgical Center team wants to set you up for success this year with five easy steps to creating healthy habits. Follow these research-backed tips, and you’ll be well on your way to a happier you!
FIRST UP, MAKE A PLAN
When you commit to taking up a new habit, it’s essential to have a clear plan of action before you begin. Start with a long-term goal and keep it S.M.A.R.T:
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Achievable
R = Relevant
T = Timely
Habit: Eat More Leafy Greens
Habit Stack: Eat a side salad at dinner three times a week.
Before moving forward, you need to dig deep into your “why.” Why do you want to make this change? What do you want to be different about your life when you succeed? Write down your “why” and keep it close by; when you feel like stopping, pull it out and remember that you can do hard things.
Habit Stacking is exactly what it sounds like: putting two or more habits together. We recommend choosing times of the day when routines are strongest. For most people, this is usually the morning or before bed. We know day-to-day life can get a little crazy, but there are certain times when patterns are created, making them the perfect place for a positive change.
The best way to form a new habit is to tie it in with an existing one.
Habit: Drink More Water
Habit Stack: Drink water on your morning commute instead of coffee.
Remember that go big or go home thing we mentioned earlier? That doesn’t have a place here. Many experts agree that significant changes require high motivation levels, which can be hard to sustain. Instead, you should start with a slight change that will eventually lead to something bigger.
Habit: Exercise More
Baby Step: Take a small (5 to 10-minute) walk on your lunch break.
You can transition to something bigger once you have successfully implemented these daily walks for a designated amount of time. Let’s add weights! And yes, we just created another habit stack. Work break = walk.
Consistency is key. To make something a habit, you need to do it every day. We’ve all heard the magic ‘21 day’ fix, but the fact of the matter is, it’s not one size fits all. One study found that it can take up to 254 days, over half a year, to make a habit stick! Don’t give up.
Habit: Wake Up An Hour Earlier
Change: Your usual wake up call is 6:30 AM, set your alarm to 6:15. Once you’ve achieved that, go back another 15 minutes until you’re at the hour mark. But remember, you need to do this EVERY DAY.
Perhaps the most important part of habit-making is rewarding yourself. We know habits take time, but in order to not give up, you need to celebrate every win. Find the thing you love and allow yourself to experience it once you’ve hit a milestone on your habit-forming journey. Sometimes, the results of habits are not immediately apparent. Don’t give up!
HEALTHY HABITS FOR 2024
While the last three years have felt a little uneasy, we have a good feeling that 2024 is your year. Change is hard, but living an unhappy life is harder. Choose your hard. If you need help jump-starting your new healthy habit, check out this list below and get to work using the steps above.
- Prioritize Sleep
- Move More
- Read Instead of Scroll
- Get Outside
- Eat Healthier
- Practice Gratitude and Mindfulness
- Drink More Water
- Limit Alcohol Intake
- Quit A Bad Habit
- Find A Hobby
As we enter 2024, we are thrilled to be your local provider for same-day surgery. If you find yourself struggling with ailments from knee pain to blurry vision, the team at St. Cloud Surgical Center may be able to help. Remember to ask your doctor about having your next procedure at our center. Here’s to a happy, healthy new year!