Creating Healthy Habits

By Amanda Venus Abdelrahman

"Most of us, having been defeated by old conditioning, take the course of least resistance, not realizing that we are training our brains into pathways that rob us of free will over time." – Deepak Chopra

“It is better to make many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.” – Proverb

"How long does it take to form a new habit? An average of 66 days, according to a 2009 study from University College, London. Repetition and giving yourself time to adjust are the main factors in forming a new behavior pattern" – Deepak Chopra

Old habits can be challenging to overcome, but it IS possible! Of course changing poor habits and replacing them with healthy habits requires that we recognize and acknowledge the negative effects of those poor habits, and feel inspired and motivated to change. If that sounds like you, there is hope! We can move forward in a direction we feel good about by learning about and practicing healthy habits. Forming habits is a gradual process. We succeed most when we take small and consistent steps. Here are some tips for habit changing!

SET GOALS:
The first step in taking control of your well-being is goal setting. We must have a vision! Visualizing your desired outcome is a useful practice. By assessing where we stand and where we would like to be, we can begin realizing our potential and coming up with a plan!

SET PRIORITIES:
Beginning by recognizing what needs to be done to accomplish a goal, we can start looking at our strengths and weaknesses. Make an effort to strengthen those aspects we are weak in by giving energy and attention to developing them. This comes down to setting priorities and organizing our time and commitments so that those things we need to do to improve our health, get done! It’s good to aim for achieving a series of small victories.

IDENTIFY HARMFUL PATTERNS:
We can't change what we don't acknowledge! It is essential we take stock of our negative habits by looking in the mirror, metaphorically speaking, and getting very honest with ourselves!

MAKE STEADY CHANGES:
Change isn't instant! It happens in stages! Going through this process requires focus and being consistent, holding our goal in mind as a major part of our motivation! It also requires that we be gentle, resilient, and self compassionate with ourselves if we slip up once in a while!

REINFORCE GOOD DECISIONS:
Periodically rewarding ourselves for our small victories along our way not only trains our brain to continue making progress by having a sense of pleasure from the reward, but is also a well deserved way of celebrating ourselves and acknowledging the progress of our efforts! Enjoy the journey!

1. Changing Your Life: The Stages of Change