Taking small steps towards big changes
Start small but continue regularly
Why is it so hard to form healthy habits? More importantly why is it impossible to stick to making them a part of our daily routine? Maybe because many of us, including me, are creatures of routines who find it difficult to make healthy habits, our anthem, our specific, measurable, accountable, everyday goals. Fresh off the holidays, having over indulged we make reckless, predictable resolutions to start exercising or lose weight, without the steps in place to succeed. Research has indicated that the best way path to overcome the hurdles is to stack the habit onto an existing one and thereby create a positive new experience. Incremental steps that start slow but build big.
One can adopt strategies like doing exercises while watching TV, taking short walks everyday, before committing to a gym membership, taking up meditation or writing a grateful journal just before going to bed. The key is to commit to doing it everyday - these will form the building blocks that will yield the results to keep us motivated. And be forgiving. Even when you slip, just get back on track as quickly as possible. That is the trick. Not to abandon the habit altogether. Be kind to yourself. Don't plan for failure but expect it - this is Life we are all imperfect.
Team Up & Look Up
Getting a buddy will make the going less lonely. This will make the goal post seem less distant be it physical or mental and the challenge more fun and dynamic. Keep a diary to write and notate your thoughts. Set tangible, mutual goals and keep up each other's spirts, share nuggets of tricks and victories through the days and weeks as you aspire forward. Working in tandem, the path will be less lonely with someone to celebrate your victories however small as well as your setbacks however big. Reach out to mentors and look up to role models who inspire and provide leadership. It's the way to reach into yourself to be a better version of yourself. Spending more time with people who model the habits we want to mirror - will put us well on the way to achieving our goals.
Do it for Yourself not because it is a fad
Lets resolve not to follow every shiny, trendy fad but commit to commonsense habits and long terms goals that will keep us healthy in body, mind and spirit. Lets make ourselves accountable in the long term. To do that it must be tangible. Speaking for myself I find that writing down my ideas makes them more "real", clear and focused. Usually I opt for the old fashioned pen and paper for this exercise - when I scan the list my commitments gain more life and purpose.
I have also learned the hard way to be patient and build a sustainable pace - so I don't burnout. Understanding your own boundaries and limitations is a true litmus test. Otherwise the ghost of phantom failures looms large. Instead I have tried to visualize myself and create affirmations as I continue down the path of healthy habits. This can be a game changer. It is also important to reward oneself as progress is made, no matter what the pace. Positive patterns emerge and the resolve to persist reinforces as the journey continues.
What has been your experience with building healthy habits? Do share your tips with us. How do you set attainable goals? Is setting the routine harder for you or outlining the micro steps to make it work? Let's use this platform to ideate, encourage and boost each other.
We are stronger together