If you are my client, I think about you… a lot.
I think about who you are and the lifestyle you live.
I think about the daily habits you might follow and how they affect you — both positively and negatively.
- Do you eat the same thing for breakfast every day?
- Do you follow a daily repetitive pattern at work?
- Do you go to bed at the same time each night?
Or, perhaps you live your life just the opposite:
- Maybe you eat whatever looks good.
- Maybe your daily work is never the same and super stressful.
- Maybe you stay up too late and fall asleep wherever you happen to be.
The English poet, John Dryden, once proclaimed, “We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.”
Simple, But Hard
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that making healthy choices can help us feel better and live longer.
Maybe you’ve already tried to eat better, get more exercise and get to bed a little earlier.
Seems simple enough, right?
But, it’s not as easy a one might think.
Quite often, “life” just gets in the way and presents obstacles and challenges that disrupt the very best of intentions.
The good news is that decades of research show that change is possible, and there are proven strategies you can use to set yourself up for success.
Science and Habits
Research has shown that it’s pretty clear the habits you adopt will shape who you are.
And, when it comes to your body, the two components that will define your physique — as well as overall health– are your eating and exercise habits.
If you aren’t happy with your body, then the solution is to adjust your eating and exercise habits.
Here’s are 7 Effective Life Hacks to help create new habits:
Building a New Habit
Use these seven steps to create a life-improving habit.
1.) CHOOSE: Choose just ONE HABIT you would like to adjust or develop. Sure you might want to change 5 or 6 different habits… but, key to your success is to start simple with just ONE HABIT. It is realistic and achievable.
For example, you might choose to:
- Eat a healthy breakfast before rushing out the door.
- Making your lunch and bringing to work instead eating out.
- Take a fast-paced walk right after work 4 times a week.
- Substitute all salty/sugary snacks with fruits and veggies.
- Get up early and stretch for 15-minutes each morning.
2.) WRITE IT DOWN: Write down on a piece of paper or daily journal your new habit. In addition to the habit, itself, also write down your motivation behind this new habit. And, then, recognize the obstacles you might face and your strategies to overcome them. Yes, a plan.
- My new habit is to skip salty and sugary snacks throughout the day.
My motivation is to: 1.) get my blood pressure down; 2.) to have more energy; 3.) replace the guilt with feeling good about my actions.
The obstacles I will face are 1.) salty/sugary snacks are everywhere; 2.) most of my friends and co-workers eat that stuff; 3.) having to turn down offers of birthday cakes and other salty/sugary snacks at celebrations and events.
I plan to overcome these obstacles by 1.) bringing my own snacks to work or other events with me. 2.) learning how to politely, but firmly, refusing offers of salty/sugary snacks.
3.) COMMIT: Yes, you must rationally and emotionally commit fully to your new habit. At the end of each day just look yourself in the mirror and you ask yourself if you lived up to your new commitment. It’s yes or no.
4.) TRACK YOUR PROGRESS: You could keep a detailed journal or simply make a check mark on each calendar day that you successfully exercise your new habit.
5.) SOCIAL PROOF: This means either status updates on social media platforms or even verbal status updates at the dinner table. Your friends and family are in a position to offer you support, so don’t shy away from those close to you who can recognize and validate your progress and achievement.
6.) OVERCOME FAILURE: Every day is not perfect. Sometimes we take a step backward. When this happens, turn it into a “learning experience” by identifying what went wrong so that you can plan around it or address it in the future.
7.) REWARD YOURSELF: Rewards, validation and recognition are big motivators and incentives toward success. Consider how to reward yourself daily (check marks, stickers, self-talk) weekly and monthly. And, if you achieved a HUGE goal, reward yourself appropriately.
Once your new habit becomes second nature, usually in about 30 days, feel free to add a second habit by going through the same 7 steps.
Try the Habit Tracker Form
Click on the link below to try the Habit Tracker Form. It’s a quick and easy way to acknowledge and remind yourself of these 7 effective life hacks to create a New Habit.