Building a Healthy Habit Realistically

A study at Duke University found that 40% of our behaviors each day are dictated by our habits. This surprising statistic means that building healthy habits is essential to a happy and healthy lifestyle. Phillippa Lally, a health psychologist at University College London, found that new habits take about 2 months on average to become automatic,. Putting these two studies together, habits can be realistically attained through a little planning and focus, and can improve your general lifestyle. Let’s explore some ways you can implement a new habit to enrich your life!

Start Small: The Little Things Will be Your Gateway

Starting with a huge goal right away can lead to discouragement and giving up quickly. To maintain motivation and focus, try to start with a small goal. If you want to eat more healthy, try drinking more water and choosing healthy snacks first, rather than suddenly switching your whole diet. Similarly, meditate for 2 minutes a day instead of 10 right away. Though some days you will feel strong and motivated enough to accomplish the big goals, you will also have rough days where you don’t feel like doing anything... so pick a small habit to start with that will ease you into your long term habit. Doing so will help you will stick with it!

Graphic by entrepreneur.com.

Find Encouragement in the Long Road

Mastering a habit takes two months on average. If it takes you longer, no sweat! Remember that you move at your own pace and implementing new habits in your life can be difficult, especially if it is something different than you would normally do. Don’t stress out if you seem to be in one stage of your habit too long. When you are ready, you will challenge yourself to move forward. It’s important to keep the end goal in mind. On a day where you feel tired and don’t want to put in the daily effort toward your habit, remind yourself why you started in the first place. Where did you picture yourself ending up? Remember how important that goal is for you, and use that as encouragement and inspiration, even on the hard days.

It’s Okay to Mess up, but Get Back on Track Quickly!

We all make mistakes. That’s normal! But don’t let a mistake become a routine. Like weeds growing more easily than flowers, bad habits can sometimes be easier to foster than healthy ones. Even if you give yourself one day off, don’t let it happen the next day. For example, if you want to make a habit of working out three times a week but skip a day one week, it’s okay. Breaks are healthy! However, if you allow it to happen the next week… that’s when a problem starts. Remember to take it easy, but also be dedicated to your goal.

Remember… Your New Habit Will Make Your Life Better!

The point is to enrich your life and develop a healthy and positive lifestyle. If you are stressing too much over keeping your habit schedule, that’s not a good thing. When this happens, remember to take a step back, reevaluate (remember, start small!), and take it at your own pace. Also, habits don’t have to be big goals that change your entire life! It can be as simple as a commitment to being positive when things don’t go your way. To implement this habit, start by holding the door for others and smiling at strangers. You’ll be surprised, such things can lead to many more positive things within your life!

Our daily actions are dictated by our habits. With a little focus, you can develop a new healthy habit within two months. By taking it slow and finding inspiration for your long term aspirations, you can implement more happiness into your lifestyle. Whether it’s working out, practicing an instrument, writing a book, or eating healthy– good luck with your new habit!