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This fortnight’s ‘Advice’ post is brought to you from Cheryl Conklin at Wellness Central who shares her thoughts on finding healthy habits that don’t come with a whole heap of unrealistic expectations and guilt, as they so often can at this time of year!
Whether it’s losing weight, exercising more, spending less money or crossing that vacation you’ve always wanted to take off your bucket list, the start of a new year is a popular time to make resolutions. However, not many people stick to their ambitious new plans. This guide, courtesy of Sarah Scribbles, will help you create some healthy new habits and stick to them.
Practice Your Habits Consistently and Regularly
Many experts cite four weeks as the amount of time it takes to establish a new habit, but Verywell Mind explains studies indicate that it can take much longer than that. Rather than letting this discourage you, recognize that habits take time to form and be gentle with yourself. The key to making a new habit stick is to do it regularly and consistently.
Take the Stress Out of Your Environment
Stress is how the body reacts to both real and imagined threats. When most of humanity’s threats were physical encounters that could be solved by fighting or fleeing, stress could be the difference between life and death. However, in modern times, when few of life’s problems can be solved by fighting or running away, stress can take a toll on the body. If you are feeling stressed out at work, you can change jobs, but if your stress is coming from home, it’s not that easy.
Whether you are feeling depressed, fighting with your family or overwhelmed by negative emotions, Redfin notes there are steps you can take to destress your home environment. First, get rid of clutter. A cluttered home contributes to feelings of being overwhelmed or trapped. Additionally, it collects dust, which can contribute to overall poor quality of living. Keep your home at a comfortable temperature and improve the airflow by opening windows and running fans.
Create a Morning Routine
Some people wake up feeling energized and ready to take on the world, but for many people, mornings are a struggle. CABA explains creating and sticking with a morning routine can have a huge impact on the rest of your day.
The first part of your morning routine is to set one alarm and stick to it. Don’t hit the snooze button and don’t set three different alarms. Stick to a regular bedtime and wake time, set one alarm and get up when it goes off.
Next, fuel your body for the day by eating a healthy breakfast and drinking a glass of water. Then set an achievable goal for the day and build your day around accomplishing it. Remember to carve some time out of your morning routine to accomplish something important to you. Keep your routine consistent.
Improve Your Diet
Many people make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, but dropping pounds isn’t the only reason to improve your diet. Good nutrition affects every aspect of your overall health. Improve your diet by making gradual changes instead of going on a crash diet that you probably won’t stick to.
Begin by throwing out or donating unhealthy food in your home. You don’t have to give up your favorite junk foods forever but save them for treats you purchase and consume outside your home so you won’t be tempted by having them around. Start keeping a food journal and making gradual changes where you notice you need to make improvements; if you don’t like carting around a paper version, plug into an app like See How You Eat or Ate. Choose a method that is convenient for you so you stick to it and can see the results.
The key to making habits that stick is to perform them frequently and consistently until they become as automatic as the habits you are hoping to replace. The best way to accomplish this is by setting realistic goals and making gradual changes to achieve them. By following this plan, you can establish new healthy habits and stick with them for a lifetime.
For more interesting and inspiring reading material, connect with Sarah Scribbles!
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