Updated: Oct 20, 2020
Becoming a healthier person relies on adopting healthier habits - we are what we repeatedly do. But establishing those healthy habits is hard. And continuing them is even harder.
But what if you could find an easy strategy to start a new healthy habit you've always wanted to adopt?
Here's what you need to know.
You always make time for things you want to do whether they are healthy or not
You already have tens or hundreds of habits each week that you do without thinking
Making a habit more desirable increases the likelihood you will do it
Based on these principles, here is an example of a new healthy habit I could add to my own life.
I want to start stretching every morning for 10 minutes. A habit I already have and enjoy in the morning is drinking a cup of coffee. So I could start stretching as the coffee is brewing and finish stretching in between sips of coffee. Now, I have a new healthy habit attached to something I was already going to do and enjoy.
Here's another example.
You want to increase your exercise by 60 minutes each week and there's a weekly podcast that you love to listen to. One day a week you take a walk and listen to the first half of the podcast and another day you ride a stationary bike and listen to the rest. You will start to look forward to the exercise on those days because you will get to listen to your favorite podcast.
Can you think of a healthy habit you want to adopt? And another habit or behavior that you enjoy or already do regularly? Get creative - can you tie those together to make your healthy habit part of the day?
Now here is a common mistake people make when trying to execute this principle. If you choose an explicitly unhealthy habit to pair with your healthy habit, the ultimate gain is minimal. If you decide to eat candy while you exercise, your healthy habit is basically negated.
While you are brainstorming your new healthy habit, ask yourself whether the new habit and the habit you enjoy are going to combine for a net positive force in your daily life.
Try it out and see how it goes! Once you have one new healthy habit you can start adding new ones and watch as your daily routine becomes healthier.
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