CRE­AT­ING HEALTHY HABITS PART 1

Great Health Guide - - CONTENTS - Me­gan McGrath

Why mo­ti­va­tion alone is not enough to build last­ing change

Mo­ti­va­tion & willpower is what gets you started. Habits are what keeps you go­ing.

Have you ever felt con­fused or frus­trated over the con­flict­ing mes­sages around cre­at­ing healthy habits? Have you ever felt that cre­at­ing new healthy habits is too chal­leng­ing for busy peo­ple? Per­haps you have slipped into some bad habits and are ea­ger to get your healthy habits back on track but just don’t know how? Here are some ideas for cre­at­ing healthy habits, stay healthy and be healthy.

FIRSTLY, THERE ARE TWO MAIN REA­SONS PEO­PLE FIND IT HARD WHEN CRE­AT­ING HEALTHY HABITS: 1. Re­ly­ing only on good in­ten­tions.

The re­al­ity is it’s not enough to just want change and hope for it. So many peo­ple crave changes but aren’t pre­pared to make any. If the choice is to change then you need to com­mit. Full stop. No ex­cuses. It’s not enough to sim­ply hope for healthy habits. The worst thing in the world is for you to make the de­ci­sion to change and take no ac­tion. As the say­ing goes, ‘If you change noth­ing, then noth­ing will change!’

2. Re­ly­ing only on willpower.

We only have a set amount of willpower. We all know this be­cause we’ve all reached that point in the day where we just can’t do it any­more. Willpower is a bit like a mus­cle. It will en­gage as you flex, but will even­tu­ally weaken and fail when it is fa­tigued. Willpower is NOT the best way to cre­ate last­ing trans­for­ma­tion. It is fine for short-term projects, like study­ing for an exam or fast­ing but not for sus­tained, long term changes like those that are re­quired for last­ing trans­for­ma­tion. But, that’s where habits come in. Mo­ti­va­tion and willpower is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you go­ing.

CHANGE IS POS­SI­BLE.

There is no doubt about it – change can be hard but I’m a liv­ing ex­am­ple that it is pos­si­ble. In tiny, baby steps, I’ve changed quite a few bad habits in my time and re­placed them with new, health­ier rit­u­als and rou­tines. I started run­ning, stopped im­pulse spend­ing, stopped mid-week drink­ing, started med­i­tat­ing, be­gan meal plan­ning, stopped say­ing ‘YES’ to every­one and ev­ery­thing, started a morn­ing rit­ual, in­vested in my more mean­ing­ful re­la­tion­ships, started us­ing ‘af­fir­ma­tions’… you get the pic­ture! It’s pos­si­ble.

SO, WHAT IS A HABIT?

Habits are rou­tine, un­con­scious be­hav­iours we per­form on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. They al­low us to learn to do some­thing that even­tu­ally we can per­form with­out hav­ing to think about it; like driv­ing a car or brush­ing our teeth or hav­ing a shower.

CRE­AT­ING HEALTHY HABITS.

This is the process by which new healthy be­hav­iours be­come au­to­matic. For ex­am­ple, if you buy a cof­fee ev­ery day on your way to work, you have a habit. If you set an alarm and wake to ex­er­cise early, you have a habit. Old habits are hard to break and new habits are hard to form. This is be­cause the be­havioural pat­terns we re­peat most of­ten, are lit­er­ally etched into the neu­ral path­ways in our brain.

PRAC­TICE MAKES PER­FECT.

The good news is that through rep­e­ti­tion it is cer­tainly pos­si­ble to cre­ate healthy habits that are pos­i­tive. The key is to prac­tise the new habit of­ten and this starts the process of cre­at­ing a new brain path­way. Re­search has shown that on av­er­age it can take up to 60 days to cre­ate a new habit, so you will need to make a de­lib­er­ate and con­sis­tent ef­fort to com­mit to each new habit for at least two months. Af­ter that, you won’t need to flex your willpower mus­cle so much. You won’t have to think about what you are do­ing; the be­hav­iour will be au­to­matic. In the fol­low­ing ar­ti­cle, I will dis­cuss the logic be­hind how we can change our habits.

Me­gan McGrath is pas­sion­ate about sup­port­ing and em­pow­er­ing women to­wards achiev­ing healthy, bal­anced and ful­fill­ing lives. She helps cre­ate sus­tain­able change for pos­i­tive last­ing re­sults and is proud to have helped count­less peo­ple thrive and flour­ish on their well­ness jour­ney. Me­gan has a Health Sci­ence de­gree, is a pro­fes­sional ac­cred­ited Well­ness Coach, a cer­ti­fied Fit­ness Trainer and Founder of Chas­ing Sun­rise – a Health and Well­ness Con­sul­tancy.

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