Tips for How to Make Healthy Habits Second Nature
Like many people around the world, you may have set a New Year’s resolution, or at least entered 2020 with the intention to develop and maintain a new healthy habit or two. Unfortunately, by this time of year, many people have abandoned their well-intentioned plans such as losing weight or eating healthier, deeming them too difficult or unattainable.
We’re here to encourage you to try again and use these handy tips to help you maintain your desired healthy habits so much so that they become second nature.
Restructure Your Life
This sounds daunting, but in order to successfully repeat and adopt a new behavior, you’ll have to minimize other areas of your life that could cause friction between your new desired habit and your old one. By clearing up space in your life for something you know will benefit you in the long run, you’ll give yourself a better chance to maintain the new healthy habit. With repetition and consistency, this new action will phase out the old, become automatic and transform into your new routine over time.
Specify Your Intention
According to one study, setting an implementation intention made participants 55 percent more likely to follow through with those intentions compared to those who did not. Implementation intentions specify which action you want to complete and what you are going to do to make it happen.
As an example, instead of saying you will run for 30 minutes, try “I will run for 30 minutes on the treadmill at the gym at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”
Try Habit Stacking
Habit stacking is an efficient way to create an effortless, maybe even time saving, routine. Rather than using time and place as your cue to perform a specific behavior, this method links an existing habit in your routine with a new one.
For example, if you frequently tell yourself that you will watch television after an hour-long workout on the elliptical, but frequently skip the elliptical component, try stacking those habits by watching television during your workout. Doing so will ensure you incorporate this positive habit with something you do daily and will likely save you some time overall!