How to Form a Habit
This month we’re looking at forming ‘Healthy Habits’ and making regular positive changes in our lives. A habit is something you repeat regularly without thinking about it – like brushing your teeth, exercising, or smoking.
But how do you make a new habit, and make sure it sticks? There has been lots of scientific research about the best ways to stick to your goals- check out some of the tips below to kick-start your new healthy routine!
- Set a specific goal
Research shows that the more specific you are about what you’re going to do, the more likely you are to keep going. Instead of saying ‘exercise more’, setting your goal to ‘exercise for 15 minutes a day’ makes it less daunting and easier to get started.
- Make a plan
Scientists have shown that it’s easier to make progress with your goal if you plan out when and how you’ll do it. Instead of saying ‘go to bed earlier’, you can plan to wind down for bed at 9pm by putting your phone in a different room, listening to a relaxing podcast, or settling down with your favourite book. Setting cues like this will help jog your memory to keep up your habit. You can even set a reminder on your phone for the same time every day so it starts becoming part of your routine.
- Make it fun!
Research shows that if you find ways to make your goal fun, you’re more likely to keep it up and get better results. For exercise, this could be joining Zumba classes with a friend or learning to rock climb. Repetition is key for forming a habit, so making the experience fun and enjoyable is really important!
You can also give yourself a reward for doing your habit each day, such as enjoying a nice cup of tea during your wind-down time, or watching an episode of your favourite show during your workout.
Healthy Habit Highlight
Lynn in Calderdale has been working hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and signed up to a women’s gym. Lynn has been going to the gym twice a week for a whole year! “I am so proud of myself,” said Lynn.
What healthy habits do you want to work on this year? Let us know in the comments or email firstname.lastname@example.org!