How to maintain a healthy lifestyle through changes
Life has its ups and downs and it’s often a challenge to stay healthy and bounce back from whatever it throws at you; whether that’s a stressful situation, a new challenge or a complete change of circumstance.
Eating well, exercise and getting more Zzzs – we may have the best intentions when making plans, but then life happens and we end up back at square one. However, it is possible to gain traction when trying to establish lasting routines and habits even when it feels like you’re going off track.
Here are a few techniques to consider:
- Identify your intrinsic motivation. What drives your actions in the long term? How to distinguish between your “want-to-do” versus your “need-to-do”? Identify all the positive reasons you want to do something and write them down in a wellness journal that you can then review to remind yourself of your goals and revise them over time.
- Set a time, make a plan and commit. Remind yourself of the reason you want to make a change or form a positive habit and develop specific strategies outlining when and how you’ll do it.
- Pair your good intention with something you’re already doing. Pick an established routine like brushing your teeth and perform the routine or habit you’re trying to establish immediately after. This will help you remember to stay on track.
- Make a list of all the benefits of the habit you’re adopting. What’s in it for you? You might surprise yourself when you start listing all the positive things it will do for you.
- Practice self-compassion. On the days when you’re committed to performing your new routine or habit, tell yourself that you’ll do it for five to ten minutes. Then, you give yourself permission to stop if you’re not feeling up to continuing. This works because many times getting started is our biggest roadblock.
- Flex your mindfulness muscle. When you’re doing the activity think about what you’re noticing and appreciating about it. This will make you more present in the moment, anchoring the quality of life benefits you perceive and value.
- Think of building healthy habits as an experiment. Don’t stress – it takes time to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Seeing your habit as a learning experience will help you succeed. Once you’ve established clear benefits to forming your habit, it will be hard to give up.
- Develop a minimum necessary standard. When you go through periods of peak stress trim down your healthy habits to the basics – sleep, hydration, nutrition, and exercise. When life calms down a bit, you can resume the healthy habits you’re developing to keep you on track to living your best life.
Bonus tip: Old habits die hard. Changing and maintaining new healthier habits is a process that involves several stages. Sometimes it takes a while – but if you stick with these changes, they may become part of your daily routine.
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