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How to Build Healthy Habits

Mary-Lauren O’Crowley, LPC 

As Ralph Waldo puts it “The first wealth is health”, health is something that must be first priority. When talking about heath, it doesn’t always mean physical health. In fact, it includes mental health as well which is often overlooked by many. It’s 2021 and definitely high time we start building some healthy habits that fuel both our mind and body. Many people find it hard to opt a new habit or change an existing one. Where, in fact, the situation is quite the opposite. Upon searching on the internet, you will come across the four stages of habit building or the 3Rs of habit change. Below, you will find some practical and doable tried and tested ways to build healthy habits. Have a look: 

1) Take Baby Steps- Start with one Habit  

 Habit building is never an overnight process. You can’t wake up one day and be a changed person altogether. For building a healthy habit you have to be patient. Take baby steps by starting with one habit only and that too the easiest one. The reason is your motivation doesn’t stay the same daily, it keeps on fluctuating daily. Chances are if you take up a difficult habit you might end up quitting it within the first few days. So, instead of starting with 50 squats, start with 5 each day, or instead of finishing the entire book in two days, start with a page a day at the minimum.  

“The rule is the easier the habit is, the more consistent it is going to be.” 

2) Increase it Gradually

 The second step is to be consistent with the habit and increase it a little every day. Many experts say that it takes up to 21 days to build/break a habit while a few say it might take 66 days for the process. Our advice would be to keep trying each day for 30 days at least before you quit. Add a little more effort each day, for example; add one more squat daily or one extra page of the book. If you cannot increase it daily, try increasing it every two to three days.

3) Divide it into Segments 

When increasing a habit, try to divide it into segments throughout the day so you don’t overburden yourself. If you are increasing 1 page of the book each day, divide the total number of pages into two reading sessions and so on. As the saying goes, divide and conquer; so if it feels too difficult—do it in segments. 

4) Establish a Routine

Once you set up your desired pace, stick to it, and establish a routine out of your habit. Even if you slip, get back on the track immediately. Never let one bad day get you down and deter you from moving forward.   

5) Best Habits Healthy for Mind and Body 

  1. Move: Include physical activity in your routine. Whether it is 20 minutes for 5 days a week, just keep moving and experience the positivity it brings.
  1. Meditate: Meditating daily for just five minutes exerts great benefits on your mental and physical well-being. Make it a habit and you will end up thanking us. 
  1. Mindfulness: Practice mindfulness in everything you do. It helps you connect with your mind and body in a deeper way and improves your health in amazing ways. 
  1. Morning Person: Being a morning person makes you physically and mentally healthier while also improves your productivity.
  1. Eat Well: Food has an impact on both the mind and body. So, you need to be watchful of your body fuel. Make sure you eat a balanced diet and drink lots of water. 

Wrapping Up

Building new and healthier habits not only benefits your mind and body but is also a form of self-love. The process might be a long one, but once you succeed you will end up patting your shoulder. If you or someone you know could use support and encouragement in building healthier habits, I would encourage you to reach out to the intake specialists at Symmetry Counseling to match you with a counselor today!

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