Tricking Yourself into Developing Healthy Habits

lacing upAre you like the millions of others out there that start a new diet or exercise routine, only to find yourself quitting a short time later? It can be so devastating! You may even beat yourself up wondering why you don’t have enough willpower or motivation to follow through with your new healthy living plan. Stop beating yourself up, there is a better way that does not involve willpower and motivation.

You see, motivation and willpower are naturally in high supply when you start a new healthy eating style or workout. However, then real life and temptations set in and our brains are not able to supply enough willpower to keep up with the constant temptations. Thankfully, there is another way to get healthier, and it involves tapping into the subconscious. Don’t worry, we are not talking about Inception here, but developing habits. Here’s the low down:

  1. Set Small, Boring Goals: Isn’t it fun to dream big when you start on a new diet. Perhaps you can’t help but picture yourself in a bikini or the idea of having muscles to impress your friends. While the big goals definitely have their place in a weight loss program, it is actually the small and boring goals that will keep you going. Setting small goals makes it easier to accomplish change without feeling like you are changing. For example, walking for fifteen minutes a day is an easy change, while committing to a hard one-hour workout will have your brain protesting.
  2. Set Triggers: Think about some of the habits you already have. Do you always rinse your plate off after you eat or do you crave popcorn when you are at the movie theater? These are learned triggers. Your brain associates the habit with the certain time. To develop a good habit, pair it with a trigger. For example, if you want to regularly take a walk, then do so right after breakfast. After a week or two, your brain will automatically associate a walk with finishing breakfast.
  3. The Earlier the Better: Our energy and willpower tend to be strongest in the beginning of the day. Try working out in the morning instead of trying to find the motivation to do it after you come home from an exhausting day at work. Also in the morning, prepare quick and healthy meals and snacks for the rest of your day. Try bagging almonds, mixing up a protein shake, and using your crockpot to cook a lean meal while you are away.
  4. Make it Fun: To really get a new habit to stick, make it enjoyable. Trying to create healthy habits is hard work, so don’t make it any harder with an unpleasant process. Find an exercise that you love to do and try making healthier versions of your favorite foods. Get a good friend involved and have fun planning your healthy habits together.
  5. Make it Convenient: The easiest way to develop a habit is to take all the hard work out of it. It is easy to talk yourself out of exercising for the day if your gym clothes need to be washed. Another example is that it is easy to justify eating out for lunch since you forgot a lunch. Instead, always set your exercise clothes out before the next day and always have healthy meal and snack options you can store in your purse, bag, or desk (think nuts, tuna packages, and soup cans).

They say it takes 21-30 days to create a habit, so what are you waiting for? Just keep working on creating your healthy habit every day and eventually it will be second nature to you.

 

Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.

Story Credit, Image Credit: lacing up by istolethetv. Used under a Creative Commons license. 

This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.