Cre­at­ing healthy habits for life

The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - NEWS - with Stacey Al­dous Stacey Al­dous is owner of Free­dom Health & Well­ness.

AVOID New Year’s res­o­lu­tions — re­search tells us they don’t work for many of us, so cre­ate healthy habits in­stead.

Your habits de­ter­mine your suc­cess — habits can be de­scribed as “a reg­u­lar ten­dency that is hard to give up”.

Habits ac­count for about 40 per cent of our be­hav­iours on any given day.

To re­wire your habits you need to make a con­scious ef­fort and un­der­stand that re­sults take time and re­quire per­sis­tence.

Some habits are trig­gered at cer­tain times of the day — such as the eat­ing too many af­ter­noon snacks.

Your lo­ca­tion and en­vi­ron­ment can also be a fac­tor. Have you ever eaten a cookie be­cause it’s in front of you? Avoid tempt­ing en­vi­ron­ments.

Emo­tional states are not very use­ful to trig­ger new habits, but they can be used ef­fec­tively for re­lax­ation — for ex­am­ple, when I no­tice ten­sion in my mus­cles I will do some deep breath­ing and have a stretch.

The peo­ple around you can help you de­velop good habits. Are you sur­rounded by sup­port­ive, kind peo­ple? Tips for chang­ing habits:

DO a stock­take of your habits — what can you find out? ISO­LATE one habit to be­gin.

IN­VES­TI­GATE deeply, know your habit pat­tern.

IN­STALL a new strat­egy pat­tern. IM­PLE­MENT and prac­tice your new strat­egy. IN­SPIRE your­self and cel­e­brate your suc­cess. IM­PROVE 1 per cent and re­peat. It might not seem like much, but it will com­pound.

Chang­ing habits can take any­where from 21 days to nine months, ac­cord­ing to var­i­ous re­search.

The key to suc­cess is to know why you want to shift.

When you want to change your be­hav­iour, you must change your self iden­tity too.

This re­quires deep mo­ti­va­tion. You need to know why you want to do it.

It must be im­por­tant enough to per­sist, and you must know the con­se­quences of fail­ure.

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