“Life changes when we change”, we are all familiar with this saying. We all know that exercise, healthy eating and adequate sleep are good for our health. Some people are able to set a strict daily routine and constantly follow it anyway. But they are minorities. Most people read a lot of news and information related to nutrition and work outs, try so hard for a couple of days then go back to old habits.
Habits are settled practices that are hard to give up. In order to form new habits, you need to understand that it is a journey, not something you can do in 1 day or 2 days.
- How long it takes to build a new habit that sticks?
There are no short cuts when it comes to changing your habits. A research conducted by Phillippa Lally- a health psychology researcher at University College London suggests that it takes, on average, 66 days to build a new behavior into your life. This number varies depending on the individual, the behavior and the circumstances. If you want to make the new habit stick over the long haul, prepare yourself approximately 2 months to 8 months, according to Lally’s research (*).
Do not be discouraged because of these numbers, it took me a year to build an exercise routine that I enjoy and stick to. It also took me the same amount of time to change the eating habit. When I stop consuming refined sugar for a long enough time, I realize too much sugar is added to my favorite cupcake the moment I take the first bite of it. When my habit of eating large amounts of vegetables formed, a meal without vegetables is like a present without a bow. Changing habits takes time, but in return, you can form good habits that help you achieve better overall health.
- Partners who support the change process
There are always obstacles on the way of forming new habits, so find yourself a support community. There is an old proverb which says, ” If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”.
I always ask my clients whether their families and friends support their food and lifestyle changes. A friend or family can be a great source of emotional support. You can also find a like-minded friend to support and inspire you along your journey.
- Goals of forming new habits
To keep focus on your goal of forming a new habit, set yourself a S.M.A.R.T goal which is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. An unrealistic goal beyond your capability to complete it results in discouragement and frustration. For example, if you set a goal of losing 10kg every month then you lose only 1kg within that month, you will soon find yourself having little motivation and patience to keep going.
Ask yourself “Is it important to form this new habit? Why do I need to do this? “. Write down your answers on a paper and stick the paper where your eyes will catch it through your daily activity. This will remind you why the formation of new habits is important to you and why you consider it a priority in life. Remember that we all can find ways to accomplish our desires as long as we can keep the enthusiasm high.
(*) Click here for more details.
*Please do aware that all information on my site is not meant to take the place of advice by doctor, licensed dietician-nutritionist, psychologist or other licensed or registered professional.