When we think about habit change, it seems like something difficult to do. It depends on what kind of habit you want to change, but mostly it is challenging and takes a lot of effort. So what to do about that? Replace bad habits into good habits and make it easier for yourself. It is important to be nice and kind for yourself.
Everything or nothing
For example, new year’s resolutions are not working for most of the people. Why? Because mostly the changes are too big and it is not clear what the goal is. But even when you have a goal, mostly it is the principle of everything or nothing. There are resolutions like; I need to go to the gym at least five times a week, I will never eat sugar anymore or I want to read a book every month. So you start with a lot of confidence with the changes you want to make, but when you skip one time to go to the gym or eat something sweet, you feel like giving up. Because you feel like you have failed. So for many people that is the reason to stop completely, because they don’t feel good about themselves. And that is where it goes wrong.
Enjoy the path
So start with making realistic specified goals and enjoy the process. It is not about achieving the goal, it is the path you take to improve yourself. Of course it is always good to challenge yourself, to let you grow more. But at least be proud of yourself for every small step you take, as that is always better than not doing anything. So go to the gym two times a week when it is not possible to go 5 times. Choose what you eat and make healthier choices and choose for an alternative without sugar or less sugar.
Keep the rhythm
But it is true, when you make a habit of something, it is easier to keep doing it. Because it becomes a part of your life and you don’t have to think about making a choice. And I do understand, you don’t want to live with a feeling that every day is the same. But for good habits it is easier to keep a rhythm. Keep that rhythm and make sure you have enough time to do new or other things on a daily basis as well.
It makes it easier for you if you also treat yourself. It keeps you going and motivated. So I would like to advise you to make a list of healthy treats. So what are healthy treats? According to Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft from the Happier podcast, there are three rules regarding the healthy treats; number 1: no food related treats, number 2: no screen time and number 3: no shopping. So it means when you for example go to the gym, don’t treat yourself afterwards with a hot chocolate with a chocolate chip cookie. Also don’t watch your favorite series and also don’t buy something online.
Give it a try
But what are those healthy treats? There are many things you can put on your list, but make sure the treats are things that you like. So in my case, one of my favorite treats is reading a book. A real book, not an E-book. Or listening to one of my favorite songs. I am an animal lover and I love cats. So during a walk I also like to pet cats. There are many more things that can be a healthy treat, like taking a bath, singing a song, writing a poem, going for a walk, listening to an interesting podcast or working in the garden. It has to be something you like and that gives you energy, peace or a good feeling. Like a small happiness boost. If you treat yourself, it is easier to build healthier habits in your everyday life. Give it a try and good luck!
– Happier podcast (Gretchen Rubin & Elizabeth Craft)