You finally want to exercise regularly, take more time for relaxation and/or switch to a healthy diet? Good so! However, in order for you to really succeed in living healthy and maintaining this lifestyle, these desires must become healthy habits.
As a habit we refer to..
…an action that we repeat until we do it automatically. We don't need any special motivation and skip the usual process of consciously deciding not to do something or to do it already.
Maybe you already know from experience:
It unfortunately, it's not easy to practice healthy habits . So how do you manage to turn conscious action decisions into unconscious behavior?
There are a few proven steps to help you build healthy habits that support your health and fitness goals. Get inspired – on your way to a healthier, fitter life!
Healthy living made easy: These 5 tips help
1. Be clear about what you want to achieve
The first step towards new, healthy habits and a healthy lifestyle is quite clear: Find out for yourself what exactly you want to achieve. To do this, you need to define your goals in concrete terms .
Studies published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology show that setting a specific goal is important for behavior change. (1) So scientists agree: Set a goal, and you'll maximize your chances of making lasting behavior change.
Take enough time to define for yourself what you want to achieve and need in your life right now. Once you've made up your mind about it, you can take the next step: Create a clearly defined plan.
2. Define a plan
Once you have defined your goals, you need a concrete plan that includes realistic steps. What small, sustainable steps can you take that you repeat over and over to consistently move closer to your goal?
A study published in the British Journal of General Practice suggests that even small changes in daily routine can lead to a major behavioral change. (2)
Here are some examples of behavioral adjustments you can make in your daily life that you can turn into healthy habits – including healthy eating :
Start the day consciously: If you're stressed in the morning, your mood will suffer, which in turn will affect your daily routine. If you set aside enough time in the morning to start slowly, listen to yourself, or meditate, you can set the stage for a successful day.
Enjoy a healthy breakfast while sitting down: Not everyone has a big appetite in the morning; you should naturally adjust your breakfast to your body's needs . A morning meal rich in protein and healthy fats will give you energy and provide the best start to your day.
Drink a glass of water Before you start your day . Make sure you get enough exercise during the day: Whether you do a few simple exercises to relieve neck tension or stretch your legs for a while, try to incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine.
Treat yourself to a snack in the late afternoon: At this time of day, many people struggle with an energy slump. So if you plan a healthy snack here, you won't have to deal with oversized cravings.
Prepare your own dinner: When you cook for yourself, you eat fewer calories and have complete control over what fuel your body gets.
Schedule fixed times for your workouts and prepare for them: If you work out at the same time every day, it will soon become automatic.
Read before you go to bed: This will help your body to slowly wind down in the evening and subsequently sleep well.
Make sure to sleep at least 7 hours every night. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day – at least on weekdays. Put onContingency plan for stressful situationsget right: If things don't go your way, you'll be tempted to break your healthy habits. Figure out for yourself how to stay cool in stressful situations (z. B.: yoga, meditation, breathing exercises).
3. Be consistent
Studies show that repeating a simple action makes it a habit. The context at the time ensures that we do them automatically. (3)
In other words: If you always take the same actions after certain events, your brain will automatically get used to this sequence.
For example, if you eat a piece of fruit every day after lunch instead of a candy bar, over time it will become a healthy habit and you will no longer miss that sugar bomb. This means that your brain automatically detects apple and co. Expect and no more "chocolate, now!" roars – the first step towards healthy eating!
How to get started now? The best place to start is with your morning routine: Try meditation, drink a glass of water when you wake up, or make an agreement with yourself to keep your cell phone turned off for a certain amount of time in the morning.
How long does it take for you to actually internalize a habit?? Studies confirm that it takes about two months for behavioral changes to become automatic. So the key to success is consistency! Once you've practiced a certain behavior for about two months, it becomes a habit.
4. Don't let setbacks stop you
When you're trying to reach a goal, you can always fall flat on your face, basically. There will be days when you don't stick to your plan, you skip your scheduled workout, you give in to your cravings, and you don't get enough sleep.
London scientists showed, however, that the subjects acquired a certain habit even if they did not perform certain actions occasionally. (4) The automatism of a habit comes back as soon as you follow the rehearsed pattern again.
Of course, the longer you suspend your healthy habits, the harder it will be to reintroduce them and continue living healthfully . So it's totally okay if you get off track here and there, but don't lose focus and always get back to your plan as soon as possible!
Make sure that your everyday life does not suddenly revolve exclusively around this topic. Of course, adopting a healthy lifestyle means hard work. But also lean back once in a while! Schedule a fixed relaxation time each week. Actively take time for positive thoughts and gratitude – allow your body and mind to rest and relax (read a book, do yoga, take a bath…) .
Soon everything will be different
Even small changes can make you experience your everyday life completely differently. Try the above 5 steps. Learn new healthy habits. You will soon notice that you are getting rid of bad habits along the way . So keep at it: Soon your goals will be closer. Healthy living will come naturally !