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How to develop a healthy habit

Every year, when January rolls around, New Year's resolutions are made. These resolutions are often goals to get fit, eat better, or lose weight. Most resolutions fail by February, which is all the more reason to make your resolution a habit. Make better choices easier by creating a healthy habit.

donuts and apple

Creating a healthy habit

Everyone knows that healthy choices lead to a healthier lifestyle which then leads to a longer and healthier life. And even though everyone has the best intentions, it's also known that it's hard to make a change that lasts. Setting goals is the first part, creating a habit is what helps you make your goal an overall lifestyle change. According to this study, on average, it takes 66 days for a new behavior to become a habit. Use these tips to create and sustain a healthy lifestyle.

Know Your Habits

In order to create a healthy habit, you have to learn how to break your bad ones. Think of the things you do regularly. Things that you often do without thought. Brushing your teeth two times a day is a good example of this automatic habit. You do it everyday, without thought, because it's a part of your routine. Now think of another habit similar to this one that isn't good for you. For example, having a drink or two when you get home from work, every night. This habit is just as automatic to you as brushing your teeth. With no thought behind the action, you can easily forget how the habit is bad for you. The best way to break your bad habit is to become aware of it and work on changing the pattern. Instead of a glass of wine, try sparkling water. Instead of a midnight piece of chocolate, try working on getting a good night's sleep (or swap it for a piece of fruit). Developing a habit doesn't always mean a new habit is formed... it could mean breaking an old bad habit.

Create Your Plan

  • Start with your goal.
  • Think of the steps you need to take to reach that goal.
  • Celebrate the small victories.
  • Recognize your hard work. Keep pushing forward. 

If your goal is to lose weight by cutting out soda from your diet, then make a goal to have one less soda every week. For example, if you consume 10 sodas a week, try cutting back to nine, then eight, and so on. You will accomplish one step of your goal by simply having one less soda. Soon, you will find yourself not needing any soda, thus your healthy habit has been formed. 

Stay on Track

Just like in the example above, staying on track is key to developing your healthy habit. Consistency will help you reach your end goal. If you do happen to fall off track, don't abandon your goal. Start fresh and try to be as consistent as possible moving forward. Soon your new healthy habit will become so routine that it is an automatic habit like brushing your teeth.

Be Patient and Think About the Future

No one can meet their goal overnight. No one can create a habit in one day. These things take time, consistency, and willpower. The best thing you can do is think about where you started. If today is the first day of trying to create a healthy habit, think about how you feel right now. And tomorrow, think about how you felt yesterday. And so on and so forth. Soon you will be the healthiest version of you looking back at all the progress you made. 

There is no one way to a healthier you, only the right way for you. Developing a healthy habit will not be easy, but will be worth it. Follow the steps above, and whatever additional steps that help you, to reach your goal. And know that if you need outside help to break a habit or create a new one, turning to your primary care provider is a step in the right direction. Looking for a primary care provider? Start working on your healthy habit with our help, here

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TOPICS: Family medicine, Health