It’s not the occasional transgression or a single piece of cake that makes you overweight or unhealthy. It’s consistently being sedentary or eating more junk food than healthy food that does it. That means you habitually do unhealthy things. Your health and weight all depend on the things you do daily, so why not make those things healthy. You probably already have a healthy habit. Brushing your teeth, for instance is a healthy habit. So is wearing a seat belt. If you come to Iron Fit in San Antonio, Texas to work out regularly, you have another healthy habit.
It takes between 18 and 254 days to develop a habit, healthy or otherwise.
Some habits are just easier to slide into and feel comfortable. Of course, those are normally the ones that aren’t best for us. Some people develop habits more quickly than others do, too. That’s why there’s such a wide discrepancy on the number of days it takes. At one time, everyone was saying that it took only 21 days to build a healthy habit. That number came from a book called “Psycho-Cybernetics.” Author Dr. Maxwell Maltz wrote that it was the number of days he observed in himself and his patients, but the theory was never tested.
Habits make it easier for you to function.
If you had to stop and think about everything you did each moment of the day, just getting to work would take forever. You’d have to stop every few seconds to evaluate a situation and even the act of buckling a seat belt would add time to your day. Habits serve a purpose. If they’re pleasurable habits, it’s even harder. The brain rewards the body with dopamine, which gives the body a good feeling, making it crave even more. Replacing a bad habit with a good one or avoiding triggers that lead you to the bad habit, like going to a bar if you’re giving up drinking, are ways to break bad habits or establish new ones.
Start with one healthy habit.
You know which habit most impacts your life. Maybe it’s a high level of added sugar in your diet that does it. If so, start with that. The easiest way to avoid added sugar is to read labels or eat whole foods. At first, you’ll crave sugar. That’s because it’s physically addictive. Before long, you’ll start realizing the true sweet flavor of fresh fruits and sugary treats won’t taste nearly as good. Change yourself, one small habit at a time.
- Is a sedentary lifestyle is a bad habit, start by making small changes. Get up and move around during commercials when you watch TV. Take walks and work your way up to a program of exercise.
- If you don’t get enough sleep, it’s time to make changes. Start in small steps by going to bed a little earlier each night, getting up at the same time each day or develop a pleasurable sleep ritual you follow every night.
- If you find yourself stressed out continually, it’s time to change your mind. Identify what’s stressing you and analyze it. You’ll often find it’s simply not that important. Learn breathing techniques to help you cope until the habit of stressful thinking ends.
- Giving up habits that are bad for your health may require changing your environment and the things you do. If you want to give up drinking, don’t go to a bar. Find a new social activity where alcohol plays no role.