Friday, November 7, 2014

How long does it take to form a healthy habit?

I'm not sure there is an exact science to this, but certainly there is a good chance that healthy habits can be formed with desire for positive change and repetition. Conventional wisdom gives a timeline of around 60 days to build a habit, but this could be different for anybody. So much can depend on age, your environment, your current personal health and being able to admit that a healthy habit should be formed to begin with on this journey of forming a habit.

According to the 5 Steps for Creating Healthy Habits, that magic bullet (the miracle drug, etc.) isn't the right answer. Here is a brief outline of the 5 steps for creating that healthy habit...

1) Set goals by baselining your health. Start out by assessing where you are in your life. How are you feeling? Do you know you need to lose weight or should lose weight -- what about smoking? Do you smoke? Start by writing down your goals and seeing where you want to be realistically. "It would be great if I quit smoking" or "it would be great if I lost 8 pounds".

2) Set priorities. This article indicates that you should list out things that you are good at already and things that you may need work on doing better. List them as "hot spots" or weaknesses or "sweet spots" things you are doing well.

3) Identify harmful patterns. Maybe the harmful habit is not sleeping enough or not drinking enough water throughout the day -- this can change with more attention to changing it.

4) Make steady changes. Getting out of our comfort zone can be the most difficult, especially when those of us that love a regular routine, get shaken out of it. But, if your job is on the 4th floor of a building -- instead of taking the elevator -- take the stairs for the week.

5) Reinforce good decisions. Maybe in rewarding ourselves for one of our small victories, we change what we are rewarded with by going to a movie instead of having a slice of cheesecake...

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