Healthy habits are something that nearly everyone strives for, yet it tends to be fleeting. People create New Year’s Resolutions each year, and making healthy habits tend to be at the top of that list. Starting the new year with a good intention is undoubtedly a good thing but adherence to a New Year’s Resolution seems to falter as the year goes on. A recent 2020 study found that almost half of participants with New Year's Resolutions felt that they were unsuccessful in sustaining their resolutions.
This finding isn’t unique to just New Year’s Resolutions and illustrates the difficulty people have when adopting healthy habits as a part of their lifestyle. Below is a closer look at different healthy habits you should consider as well as some tips and tricks to help optimize your life and increase the chances of sticking.
What are some healthy habits for a healthy life?
General health and wellness is something that is closely tied with the decisions we make consistently. The food you eat, the amount of sleep you get each night, the amount of time you take for your mental health, and the amount of physical exercise you get are all well within your control. Habits revolving around these are not a guarantee for living a healthy life, but they provide your body with the support it needs to do so.
Below is a closer look at four different categories of healthy habits and their benefits on your overall health and wellbeing. When made a part of your everyday life, these habits can enable you a better chance of living a long and healthy life.
Many people sleep on the concept of having good sleep habits, but the reality is that good sleep plays a vital role in your overall wellness. If you have skipped out on sleep for an extended period, you have likely felt some of the effects of sleep deprivation, including a decreased ability to concentrate, a lack of mental clarity, and possibly irritability.
Some good sleep habits include avoiding the use of bright screens before bed, waking up at the same time every day, avoiding caffeine late in the evening, and creating relaxing nighttime routines to help facilitate better quality sleep. All of these good sleep habits are referred to as having good sleep hygiene, which enables you to have a better night's rest.
Getting a good quality rest each night can have many benefits beyond avoiding sleep deprivation symptoms. Good quality sleep can help to support your immunity, productivity, and optimal brain function and lower your risk of developing health problems like diabetes and heart disease.
When developing healthy habits, many people forget to take the time to ensure that their mental health is adequately taken care of. In a world that pushes for physical wellness, it is important to remind yourself that your mental well-being is just as important.
Some healthy mental habits could include setting aside time for your hobbies and passions, establishing a work-life balance, finding time for self-reflection, and meditation. These healthy habits can help support your overall mental well-being, which can help with feeling mindful, emotional well-being, and a sense of purpose.
Diet is a hot topic of debate in health and fitness. It seems like everyone has their own diet regime, and it can be challenging to know what good eating and healthy eating habits look like.
Dieting is something that most people have done at one point or another, and while it can be helpful to lose weight, it isn’t always ideal when it comes to implementing those changes into your life in the long run. When it comes to implementing long-term healthy food habits opting for a well-rounded diet tends to be key.
While everyone may follow their own specific diet, they can all boil down to a couple of healthy eating habits. These habits include watching your portion size, ensuring that you are getting your daily requirement of vitamins and minerals, as well as ensuring you get the macros you need. These healthy habits ensure that your body has all the energy and molecules needed to function optimally.
A healthy lifestyle and physical activity are two things that go hand in hand. When you consider the evolution of humans and society, it is easy to see that having a sedentary lifestyle is not suited to humans. Sitting is often referred to as the new smoking. While this statement is quite an exaggeration, it still does point out that sitting for extended periods can increase your risk of certain health complications.
The only way to fight back against a sedentary lifestyle and the many health-related consequences of such a lifestyle is to get physical exercise on a routine basis. Some healthy habits you can implement regarding exercise include working out at least three times a week, committing to daily walks, and even simply taking the stairs rather than the elevator.
Exercise has many profound beneficial effects on the body. Exercise can help to support a healthy bone density, optimal cardiovascular health, muscular strength, and aerobic capacity. Exercising consistently can increase your overall fitness level, enabling you to retain your full range of motion and mobility as you age.
How can I make habits stick?
Many of the habits above may seem easy to initiate, but the true struggle comes when you try to establish these habits in the long term and incorporate them into lifelong habits. Anybody can go to the gym for a week, but the true challenge and results arise when you go back consistently for years.
Below is a closer look at some helpful ways you can optimize your life to make habits have an easier time sticking. Hard work and dedication are a large part of the equation, but hopefully, these tips will provide value and allow you an easier time getting these habits down pat.
Reduce your barriers
Repetition and consistency are the keys when it comes to trying to make new habits, and the worst enemy of consistency is barriers. Barriers are things or circumstances that present an opportunity for you to opt out of whatever it is you are trying to do.
The most common example of this is physically traveling to the gym. You are likely psyched to get your exercise in the first couple of days, but after some time, it becomes more common that you simply don’t want to travel to the gym for X, Y, or Z reasons.
Reducing the barriers to your healthy habits is the key to ensuring you stick with them. Essentially you want to think of any and all excuses you may come up with and do your best to force your future self to act on the healthy habit since there is no other option. As with the case above, perhaps you purchase gym equipment for home, and that way, you can’t use the excuse of not wanting to drive.
Create your routines around your new habits
Habits are things we do automatically out of repetition, and your daily routine is an example of one that already exists. An excellent way to make habits easier to implement is to incorporate them into your daily routine. It can be much easier to develop healthy habits by piggybacking on your existing habits.
An example would be if you wanted to start a new supplement regimen, like MitoQ. Implementing MitoQ into your morning routine and setting a rule that you cannot have your morning cup of coffee before you take your two MitoQ capsules is an excellent way to get in the habit and can help you stick with it.
Develop an accountability system
The last thing that can help you make habits stick is creating some kind of accountability system. All too often, people take one day off from their habit and slowly start taking more days off until they have abandoned the habit. This occurs because there is a lack of accountability when you don’t follow through.
Some ways you can implement accountability include getting your friends or family involved to keep you accountable, penalizing yourself if you don’t meet expectations, or utilizing a habit tracker. Setting up these accountability systems can make it harder for you to give up on a habit, making it more likely that you implement them into a part of your life.
In summary, healthy habits can be quite difficult to implement in your daily life. Whether you are trying to create habits of a healthy work-life balance or trying to run more regularly, consistency is key. Minimizing barriers, incorporating habits into your daily routine, and creating an accountability system are the best ways to optimize your life and make it easier to incorporate new healthy habits.
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