Creating Healthy Habits — And Getting Them to Stick

Creating Healthy Habits — And Getting Them to Stick

The benefits of a healthy daily routine

Creating and following a daily routine is one of the best ways for building healthy habits while shedding habits that may be just downright bad for you. A healthy daily routine, one that includes Biochem’s whey or plant protein powders, can create structure -- and a sense of control — that can have a more positive impact on our lives by helping us become more organized, productive, and healthy. However, simply saying we’re going to create healthy habits and actually doing it are two very different things.

Research shows that the start of any new phase -- be it the resumption of post-pandemic life, turning a year older, or the beginning of a new season -- can serve as a powerful psychological motivation to kick-start new habits. It’s called the fresh-start effect. The end of the pandemic is “this momentous, collective fresh start that has all the features you need if you want to jump-start change,” says Katy Milkman, a behavioral scientist at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and author of the new book How to Change. “Maybe you didn’t achieve your fitness goals or build better routines, but that was the ‘old you’ during the pandemic. The new you can do it in this new era.”

What is a habit?

A habit is something that is routine to you and that you repeat, often without knowing it. Some habits are good, some not so good. Good habits can include such things as a healthy diet and regular exercise, healthy sleep habits, stress management, supplementing your daily diet with Biochem’s Grass Fed Collagen Plus, and positive work-life balance, among many others. On the other hand, bad habits can be the exact opposite of the good habits noted above.

How long does it take to form a habit?

According to a study from University College, London, it takes an average of 66 days to form a new behavior pattern. Repetition and giving yourself time to adjust are the main factors in forming a habit. We know that making healthy choices can help us feel better. Maybe you’ve already tried to eat better, get more exercise or sleep, quit smoking, or reduce stress. It’s not easy. Resolutions offer a lot of promise, but they tend to fizzle out when a challenge arises or motivation wanes. So what exactly makes lasting change so hard? The simple answer is that we are creatures of habit. It takes energy and intention for our brains to pause and think about doing things differently.

Set yourself up for success: 5 tips for creating healthy habits

#1 Set a clear goal

Notice the difference between these two goals: ‘Exercise more’ and ‘Walk one mile every day.’ The latter is more specific, so it’s more measurable and therefore more likely to stick. Success breeds more success. When you can see yourself taking concrete steps toward a clear goal, you’re more likely to persevere as the habit-setting days go on.

#2 Set up small victories

Begin with a goal you can define and that means something to you. Skip red meat for a week. Ditch the elevator and take the stairs. Stop eating halfway through your meal, take a few breaths and ask yourself if you’re still hungry. If you’re able, get a standing desk so you can break up the time you sit each day. These small goals will eventually turn into victories as they become good habits that will improve your overall well-being.

#3 Reward yourself

It’s important to reward yourself as you work towards achieving your goal habits. To make healthy habits stick, we crave recognition, pride, and other intrinsic rewards that keep us on the right path. You can make your reward as concrete as you’d like -- from a private progress chart to public accountability in social media posts to a self-care practice you look forward to as you persevere through the hard work of locking new, healthy habits into place. That might be treating yourself to a massage, a warm soak in the tub after a workout, or a quiet cup of tea after a busy day.

#4 Self-care

Make sure to schedule some downtime in your day, along with time for activities you enjoy. Incorporating an evening routine that includes brushing and flossing your teeth and following a regular sleep schedule can also help keep your other healthy living habits on track.

#5 Be patient with yourself

Since it takes up to 66 days for a habit to really take hold, don’t beat yourself up if you get derailed. Change is hard. View the following day as an opportunity to get back on track toward implementing your new healthy habit as a part of your daily lifestyle.

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