Creating habits should not resemble making a shopping list
You’ve decided you are going to change your habits and go to the gym, eat more kale, drink more water, do yoga, meditate, budget, take vitamins, and spend more time outside. Ummm... let’s think about this. It is going to be hard enough to do ONE of those things consistently, let alone turn it into a habit. Be reasonable with your expectations.
There are a lot of things you could do to be healthier and create healthy habits. There are also a lot of things you could buy to make breakfast, but you probably aren't making eggs, waffles, cinnamon rolls, biscuts and gravy, and breakfast pizza all for the same meal. Let's be reasonable on expectations.
Obstacles into Opportunities: Don’t let them become excuses!
Let’s say you would like to get into the habit of walking every day after work, but you have to take your kids or grandkids to piano lessons after work 3 days a week. The timeframe is an obstacle.
Instead of considering it an obstacle, can you turn it into a location trigger? While your child practices piano, you spend your time walking around the block rather than waiting in the lobby and scrolling on your phone.
The solutions may not always be straightforward. The important part is that you find something that gets you to your reward and is repeatable.
Healthy Habit Math: Adding and Subtracting Actions
Making behavioral changes means you are adding or subtracting something in your routine and you need to figure out what that is in order to set yourself up for success. If you are planning to go to the gym three times a week, you need to figure out what you are NOT going to be doing during that time. If it is something important, you may need to restructure your plan. If you sacrafice important things to make room for new healthy habits, you may need to re-think your routine.
Focus on adding
Getting rid of ice cream is hard. Who doesn’t like ice cream? How about adding fruits and vegetables? If you still want the ice cream, it’s there, but you may already be full. Can’t stop binge watching in the evening? Take a walk. Your show will still be there if you aren’t tired. Taking away things may leave you feeling deprived. Focus on adding first.