The Beginner’s Guide to Healthy Habits
There’s no denying that healthy habits are the key to happiness and longevity. Eating right, exercising regularly, reading more, and practicing financial literacy are all great ways to tap into your true potential.
But it’s often easier said than done.
It can be challenging to develop healthy habits. To start, you might find yourself resistant to change—to putting effort into something that doesn't yield immediate results.
And considering that a significant number of habits form automatically, there's a good chance you've never put much thought into what you can start doing to improve your quality of life. Generally, most of us just dwell on the things we need to stop doing:
- Quit smoking and/or drinking.
- Stop watching so much television.
- Spend less time on social media.
- Drink less caffeine.
But here’s the thing: While difficult, you can break all those bad habits while simultaneously developing healthy habits. It takes some effort, sure, and you might often find yourself falling back into old patterns, but it’s possible.
It’s essential, too.
The reasons for investing your time and energy into cultivating healthy habits are vast and varied, ranging from improved health to stronger relationships.
So, you’ve made it this far. Are you ready to make some changes?
Let’s talk about what you can do to develop healthy habits for life.
What Are Healthy Habits, and Why Are They Important
Habits are, essentially, extensions of yourself—they’re like extra limbs that are hard to ignore. This is why you want these metaphorical arms and legs to make your life more rewarding and fulfilling, rather than hold you back.
And if you’re like us—and we think you are—you’re always looking for ways to improve, both professionally and personally. So you already know that cultivating healthy, lifelong habits can not only help you take steps towards a better version of yourself, but also provide you with other powerful benefits that are like the proverbial icing on the cake:
- Increased energy
- Less anxiety
- Improved health
- Boosted confidence
- Greater sense of purpose
- Deeper connections and relationships
How to Replace a Bad Habit With a Healthy Habit
Habitual behaviors are tough to navigate. They’re often so ingrained in our daily routines that breaking away from them feels like an impossibility. In other words, not every bad habit is easily broken.
The trick here is not to just remove the bad habit. You need to replace it with something that adds value to your life. If you can embrace this idea, you’ll find it that much easier to change all those behaviors that are holding you back.
Here’s how to get started:
Step 1. Acknowledge your bad habit:
You need to start with a bit of introspection. While some bad habits immediately stand out, others are sneaky and can go unnoticed if you don’t take the time to evaluate your everyday routines. Think about how much time you spend procrastinating or scrolling the endless newsfeeds on your phone. Ask yourself if you’re making an effort to be present or if you’re just going through the motions of daily life. Don't get down on yourself once you pinpoint the behavior you want to change. Instead, simply acknowledge that you've already formed the habit, then forgive yourself for it.
Step 2. Strategize:
Like most things in life worth doing, you can’t just wing it. You need to act with intention. Suppose the habit you’d like to change is checking social media first thing in the morning. Think about what you can do to overcome this habit and remind yourself why making a change is the best thing for your overall wellbeing. Instead of reaching for your phone at the crack of dawn, make a list of alternative actions: stretching, meditating, showering, or journaling.
Step 3. Make an effort:
Now for the hard part—taking action. Let's revisit our example of scrolling social media in the morning. This is the part where you need to take definitive steps to leave that bad habit in the dust. Put your phone across the room, so you can’t impulsively reach for it when you wake up. Make a to-do list, so you know exactly what needs to be done before you can feed that obsessive compulsion to immerse yourself in a screen.
Step 4. Embrace your success:
This is the fun part. You've acknowledged your habit, made a game plan, and taken definitive action—replacing a bad habit with a healthy pattern that adds value to your life. It's essential to recognize how far you've come so you don't accidentally slip back into old behaviors. Give yourself a pat on the back and reward yourself for making it this far. Changing habits is hard, and you deserve a little recognition.
Curious about what other steps you can take to form healthy habits and reach your wellness goals? Fill out our personal evaluation to learn more.