If you are ready to make a healthy lifestyle change you must commit to developing a new habit. Without a strategy in place, it is unlikely that your new habit will stick. The tips below will help you optimize your chances for success.
The first thing you must do is define a clear, specific, and measurable new habit. So, instead of saying you will work out more, set a goal to workout 3 times a week. If your new habit is to get more sleep, set a new bedtime. If you want to minimize your tech time, you can set a time to unplug each day.
Next up, you need to identify the supportive investments and tools to help you achieve your success. Keeping with the examples above, you could download a fitness app, invest in a gym membership, or sign up for a weekly fitness class. To ensure you go to bed on time you could set a daily bedtime alarm 30 minutes before your new bedtime so that you can start to wind down. To help you unplug you could also set an alarm or use one of the many apps designed to automate your unplugged times each day.
A lifestyle change takes at least 21 days to become a habit, so give your new habit time to develop. The key to your success is that you must not have any exceptions to the rule during the first 21 days. After that, you can work in occasional exceptions. For example, you shouldn’t workout when you’re sick. Or if you have tickets to a concert or show you may not get home until after your new bedtime. If you slip up, don’t beat yourself up—just start fresh tomorrow.
Associating your new habit with a positive reward will help to create a healthy new pathway in your brain, cementing your new habit. The reward you give yourself can be small. Maybe for every week you go to bed on time you treat yourself to a manicure, movie, or dinner at your favorite restaurant. Or for every day you successfully unplug during your set times, you can spend 30 minutes of your unplugged time reading, doing an art and craft, or watching an episode of your favorite show.
Finally, don’t overwhelm yourself. If you have a list of several healthy changes you want to make, start with one and once it’s a habit and not a chore, move on to the next healthy change.