How to create healthy habits

Lets be real, we all know that making healthy choices can and will (most likely) help you feel better and live a healthier and more positive lifestyle, right? Maybe you’ve already tried to eat healthier, get more exercise, get a better sleep pattern, quit smoking, cut back on drinking, or tried different ways to help reduce your stress. It’s not easy and I'm not going to sit here and have you read about all of these amazing, simple things for you to do and expect you to feel 100% better straight away – its not going to happen. But you can boost your ability to create and sustain a healthy lifestyle by being aware of your habits in the first place, and then assessing / putting them in order of which ones you would want to change.

Here are some ways you can start creating healthier habits today:

In this section I would like you to try i
dentify your most unhealthy patterns and triggers. A trigger is something that sets off a memory / flashback to the persons event of his / her originally obsession or trauma. By getting you to plan the different unhealthy options you will be able to see them much clearer and they may be more obvious to you, this will then allow you to set realistic goals.
From here I would like you to try to write down steps that will help you achieve them. It can be as simple as not adding that extra sugar into your coffee or taking away half of it to begin with. The more specific the better. Buy a planner or create a day-to-day schedule. Remember to mentally reward yourself once you have done this. Little things like saying ‘Well done Jess, you’ve actually done it’ or ‘Okay that wasn’t so bad was it?’ or ‘You did good there, lets try that again'.

Change your surroundings.
By this I mean figuring out different ways to make healthy, easier choices. Remove temptations. Again, easier said than done but try not buying that extra packet of biscuits or adding in new, heathier options. If it is more with the people in your life then examine who is in your life, do they really have beneficial habits? Are they going to benefit you in your life or are they bringing you down? Do they have a negative influence on you? Try to surround yourself with positive people who will support your new habit, if it means cutting out old friends then that is what has to happen I’m afraid, especially if they are not willing to support and compromise with you. 

Ask for support.
Find this in your closest friends, family, co-workers, neighbours, or groups for support (online or phone calls to charities or support networks). Being held accountable by others is great when trying to create better practices. Having a another person or therapist who can check in with you on your goals is always helpful. You would be surprised how nice it does feel when you have someone who is from a different circle tell you the benefits of you making the changes or ways that will support your journey if you do struggle.

Fill your time with healthy, positive activities.
Try exercise (it doesn't have to be intense or involve weights), a new hobby, being artistic, try a puzzle with some music or a podcast on in the background, or spending time with family and friends. You may not even know you enjoy this new skill or activity until you try them, what is the worst thing that could happen? Answer- you figure out you don’t like it and move on to something else. Simple. However, I would always say give a new skill a go at least two times before you decide that you don’t like it.

Track your progress.
Recording how things are going will help you to stay focused and catch slip-ups. I find that journaling / keeping notes pf your goals / feelings are great way to track your progress. We forget things day to day and writing everything down helps. I feel it is much nicer to write things down than have them on my phone, it is all well and good to have reminders on your phone, but there is nothing more satisfying than ticking off your jobs / to do list or seeing positive changes in front of you.

Imagine the happier / healthier more positive future you.
Think about future benefits to stay on track. Envision your goal daily. One tip I will suggest to you all is to create a vision board and have it in your workspace or an area in your home where you spend a lot of your time. When you are all set to make a change or give up on your progress, when you see those images or words each day they will be stuck in your head and will give you that extra nudge to not be giving up. Aim for bright colorful, positive images, that also possibly include dates, numbers or words that only are specific to you.

Reward yourself.
Give yourself a nice reward when you’ve achieved a small goal or milestone, an example is to schedule in some “me” time. Stay home and binge your favorite Netflix show or even just doing nothing all day if that is really what you want to do. If it is a diet you are trying to change, try not to steer of your path by thinking you deserve that extra bug slice of cake or packet of biscuits, keep that positive mind set and if you are after something sweet or savory then look for the healthy alternative (there are so many options online!). If none of those suggestions are exciting you, then why not ring that person or family member who is your ‘support’ system and tell them the amazing progress you have been making. There are so many fun and creative ways to reward ourselves.

Most Importantly! Be patient.
Please try to remember that improvement takes time, and setbacks will most likely happen and that is okay because we are human. Focus on progress, not perfection! If you slip up, make sure that you don’t give up and say ‘Ill start Monday’ because once you have got into that cycle of being in your head, the next time you may slip up that is what you will have in your head. If you make a mistake simply get up accept it has happened and look at how you can then change to make it back on track. 

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