Habits are small actions you take every day that affect your health. Some are good habits and some are bad. Below we have created a plan for you with tips and tricks to support you to create new good health habits and release old, unwanted bad habits.
Change is not about willpower. You do not have to use extraordinary effort to force yourself to change. You can try that if you like, but it usually doesn’t work. Knowing how your brain works and how to support yourself makes change so much easier!
1) Start good habits before stopping bad ones.
Many people will recommend stopping a bad habit before you start any good habits. We feel this is actually the harder way to go, since giving something up, especially something you are using to make yourself feel better is super tough!
Good health habits build upon each other and become easier the more you do, and the better they make you feel since you will have more energy to make even more positive changes in your life!
2) Give yourself compassion and kudos!
Life is challenging and the world is troubled and all that stress does affect all of us. So first and foremost, give yourself big compassion for everything you have been through and all you have to deal with on a daily basis, take a deep breath, and give yourself a pat on the back for doing such a good job!
Change can be hard, and many things can get in the way. But, ultimately, beating up on yourself never helps.
It may help to think of yourself as an adorable puppy that you are trying to train. The puppy is young and does not know any better. You would not hit the puppy when it does not do what you want. Instead, praise the puppy and celebrate every success the puppy has, and ignore the mistakes. Eventually, the puppy will learn and become awesome!
3) Start small
One thing is for certain – start small! You don’t have to make a huge change be the first habit you try to start. It is better to start with a small change and get a quick, easy win, so you can build momentum. But, how do you know where to start to incorporate good health habits into your day?
4) Knowing your motivation is key to changing or creating a habit
Your motivation can be towards a good thing or away from a bad thing. For example, you might want to drink more water so that you have better skin when you go out on dates or you might want to start flossing every night before bed because you hate going to the dentist!
5) Make your new habit very specific
Whatever habit you choose, make sure that it is very specific. So instead of saying, I am going to get more sleep. Say, I am going to go to bed at 9:30 PM every Sunday through Thursday night. Once you have picked a small habit to try to incorporate into your life, then the challenge is actually doing the thing and now we will help you do it with more tips and planning help at the end!
6) Habits must be linked to some cue, such as getting up or an alarm
If morning is the time of day that you want to incorporate into your new stretching routine, then you might want to make yourself a schedule with times allocated for everything you have to do before work. If you are on a time schedule in the morning, you might want to set a timer to make sure you do not run late. If you plan to do your stretching in the evening, you might want to set an alarm on your phone to remind you to go and stretch.
7) Give yourself a clue
Another good way to remember to do a thing is to post a note to yourself in an obvious place. If you want to remember to take your supplements with breakfast, you can post a note on your toothbrush, tea cup, or refrigerator handle. Eventually, your new healthy habit will be incorporated into your daily routine and you won’t need the notes anymore.
8) Remove Obstacles
One action that will smooth your way to create a new good health habit would be to remove obstacles getting in the way of your success. Examples might be, if you are trying to replace soda with carbonated water, it would definitely be a good idea to have carbonated water on hand everywhere you will be (home, car, work) in several different flavors. Or, if you want to stretch in the morning, put your workout clothes right next to your bed so that you put them on first thing.
9) Ask for support
If your habit is large or small, it is sometimes useful to tell people around you what you are trying to achieve and ask for their support.
10) Start the new habit with a buddy
There is nothing better than working as a team to keep you motivated and on track. Making a commitment to another person will keep you focused! Set up a time to chat, email or text each day with your “Healthy Habit Partner” to see how you are doing and help you both overcome obstacles to your success.
11) Join an online support group
If you can’t find a buddy for a particular new habit that you want to start, don’t fret! There are many online support groups for almost every healthy habit you can think of, or start your own group!
12) Keep track every day
Buy or print out a paper calendar and give yourself a big checkmark or a star when you were successful with your new healthy habit that day. Most people are visual, so seeing your success on paper will motivate you to stay consistent.
14) Reward your success!
Lastly, write down the good habit you are working on and set a date to give yourself a specific reward after the habit has been successfully in place for a month. Celebrate your achievement!
15) Choose a strategy
There are several ways you can figure out where to start. You can:
- Start by thinking about what you want most. For example, if losing weight is what you would like to do, then you can pick up a positive weight loss habit like drinking more water.
- Or, you can start with what makes you feel the worst. For example, if your back is hurting you every day, you could start by incorporating some simple stretching into your morning routine.
- Or, you could start with anything on the list below that looks the easiest to you. Read through these top 15 good health habits, and pick the one that looks like it will be an easy win.
16) Good Health Habits Menu
- Take a good quality B-complex vitamin supplement every day with breakfast
- Walk for 30 minutes every day
- Eat 3 vegetables at every meal
- Set a timer to get up from your desk every 20 minutes
- Make your own single-serving keto snack packs
- Finish eating your last meal three hours before you go to bed
- Avoid looking at screens two hours before you go to sleep
- Avoid caffeine after 12 noon
- Go to sleep an hour earlier
- Learn a 10-minute muscle-building exercise routine
- Floss your teeth before bed
- Replace soda with carbonated water
- Avoid carbohydrates and sugar entirely for 1 day a week
- Breath deeply for 5 minutes before bed each night
- Dance to your favorite songs for 5 minutes a day
17) You are much more likely to succeed in creating a good habit if you plan for the change
New habits require a bit of planning, right? So, it’s best to start when your brain is working its hardest, or at its peak of executive function. For many people, brain function is highest in the morning, so this is the best time to make plans, however if your brain works best at another time of day, of course, do your planning then.
Sit down with a pencil and paper and figure out how to incorporate the desired new habit into your life. Write down on a piece of paper what you want to accomplish and then brainstorm all of the steps it will take to accomplish your goal. If it seems like the steps need to happen in a specific order, then prioritize each step by putting a number on the left side of each item.
Let’s take an example… Say you want to start stretching in the morning for 10 minutes:
– You could start by finding a few videos to try that will provide you with a 10-minute stretching session.
– Then make sure that you have somewhere to watch the videos while you stretch.
– Figure out where, in your home, you will be.
– If it is stretching in a chair, which chair will you use?
– If you will be on the floor, where would that be possible?
– And, do you have a blanket that you could put down on the floor to stretch on?
– What will you wear?
Here’s an example of a finalized plan:
Let’s say you have a goal to take a bath every night as a way to detox and de-stress, then here are some steps you might want to take:
- Check to see if you have a non-toxic cleanser and a scrubby sponge or brush with which to clean the tub. If you do not, one task would be to buy them, or use baking soda and a rag.
- In the “Water (Hydrotherapy)” section of our book, Toxic to Terrific: The step-by-step detox guide to safely remove dangerous toxins from your body and life, read the “Hot Mineral Baths – Balneotherapy” page.
- Buy supplies: A bag of Epsom salts, one of the herbal tinctures listed in the “Herbs” section of this book under “Diaphoretics,” and add an essential oil if you’d like.
- Gather your supplies: washcloth, bath towel, bathmat, water for drinking, and a hair clip if you need one.
- Set the alarm on your cellphone to remind you when to take the diaphoretic herbal tincture, clean the tub, and draw your bath.
- Once you have the supplies and have gone through the process once, it will become easier each time and eventually become a habit. By setting the alarm on your cell phone to repeat on certain days of the week, your bath will become a practice and your body and mind will crave this wonderful habit.
18) It may be useful to think the entire procedure through by answering these 10 questions:
- Who is involved in this new habit?
- What habit do you want to do?
- What cue will you give yourself to prompt you to do the habit? (A repeating alarm? A note?)
- Where will you do this?
- When (exactly) will you do this?
- How often? For how long?
- What do you need to get or set up before you can start doing the healthful habit?
- What support will you need?
- How will you keep track of your success?
- When and how will you reward yourself for succeeding?
19) Great books to help you on your way:
Here is a list of books we love that have helped us tremendously to make positive, healthful changes to our daily habits (in order of publication date).
• Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything by BJ Fogg, PhD
• The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
• Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
• Feel Better in 5: Your Daily Plan to Feel Great for Life by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee
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