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Healthy Habits and How to Start

Written by Cheryl Schwieters, BS, LPTA, CSCS, Pn1
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26198189 10155914169633076 5165533344898891151 oA habit is described as a behavior or action that becomes automatic. We create habits all the time, some are good like brushing our teeth first thing in the morning, choosing a salad for lunch, or lacing up your tennis shoes for a morning run. Habits can also be bad, like staying up too late and not getting enough rest, cigarette smoking or overeating. These repeated patterns become hard to change. They actually are etched into our neural pathways. In fact, almost 45% of our time spent awake is performing behaved actions – why? Because our body is an amazing machine and wants to be as energy efficient as possible. But we also know that they are choices and thus are able to change. Through repetition, we can form new habits, therefore improving lifestyle choices and ultimately creating healthier habits.

When addressing a habitual behavior change, it is important not to start with something that will be hard to achieve. Have you ever been in a situation and looked at ALL the bad habits you don't like about yourself? I eat too many sweets, I smoke, I don't exercise enough, I can't fit into my skinny jeans anymore. Eventually you just become overwhelmed and often times feel worse than when you started. Many say in order to create change you should start with something that feels almost too easy. Finding success in something often has a snowball effect on other habit and we didn't even plan on it. Here are some interesting facts about habits:

  • Habits are easier to make than break (howstuffworks)
  • Habits are formed by repeated actions made over and over – and I stress Action not just thinking it (Psychology Today)
  • As habits form you use less and less mental energy, making them a more efficient and automatic process(NPR)
  • One out of every two minutes is spent doing something you didn't have to think about (The Power of Habit)
  • Originally thought to take 21 days to create it actually takes 66 to create a habit (Examine)
  • The number one New Year's resolution each year is to exercise more yet only 8% of the population actually achieve their goals. (Examine)

Websites referenced:

https://examinedexistence.com/interesting-facts-about-your-habits/

http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/form-a-habit2.htm
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-fallible-mind/201304/it-takes-emotion-not-facts-change-habit
http://www.npr.org/2012/03/05/147192599/habits-how-they-form-and-how-to-break-them
http://resolutiontweet.com/focus-on-daily-habits-and-know-the-facts-about-21-days/

Books referenced:

'The Power of Habit' by Charles Duhigg

Image Referenced:

https://www.motivationalmemo.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/habits-300x160.jpg

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