How To Create Healthy Habits?
Would you believe, if I say there’s a method to make you feel better in only five minutes with a simple healthy habit? The fact is, we are overwhelmed. This applies to the most productive, happiest, smartest, and even healthiest people in the world. As a global society, we’re collectively going through some very hard times.
Moreover, it’s really hard right now for most of us to find the time, energy, and tools to keep our mind, body, and heart in check. A lot of health books, Instagram accounts, health bloggers, doctors, and diets can feel overwhelming with their tips and tricks. Besides, they feel confusing or make it seems really complicated and hard to improve our health. In addition, you may feel you have to do all these healthy habits perfectly and spend hours doing so and end up doing none of them.
This is the reason why I love the new book by Dr. Chatterjee: Feel Better in 5 – Your daily plan to feel great for life.
Feel Better in 5 – Your daily plan to feel great for life.
As a health practitioner, he was always interested in why some people manage to make a change, and why others don’t? Because if you ask anyone if they want to become healthier, most people would say yes. But a lot of people aren’t able to do that.
The shift we need to make to improve the quality of our life is to go from big goals and a big change to making small digestible changes. In other words, when you start small, you’ll be able to make a change, you’ll actually succeed in achieving those small healthy habits. However, when you start too big and aim too high, sure, you might do it for one week, or even two weeks, but when you don’t feel motivated, you fall off the wagon and blame your willpower for it. (remember that gym membership)
The secret is to make your healthy habit as simple as you can.
Holistic Health Care
Now more than ever it’s important to look after our health in a holistic way. Whether it’s around nutrition, making any kind of change in our mental or emotional wellbeing, doing something in our careers. Dr. Chatterjee debunks the myth that if you are not full of willpower, discipline and motivation, it’s because you just don’t have the willpower, discipline, or motivation. We call a BS on that!
You see, the problem isn’t you my friend.
It’s not your willpower. Or lack of it.
Have you tried to add a fitness schedule to your daily life? The promise and commitment to workout at least 3 times a week for 30 minutes. You feel motivated and happy to be able to set such a great goal for yourself. You don’t have a motivation issue here at this moment.
However, if I ask you four weeks later (or even 2) how your exercise routine is going, a big chance the answer is that you didn’t keep up with that initial schedule. Life happens, you’ve been busy, super stressed with work or homeschooling the kids. You feel defeated and a failure because you couldn’t achieve your own workout goals. (I hear you!)
But the real truth is, the workout schedule of three times a week for 30 minutes was simply too much for you. It’s not relevant and connecting with your lifestyle now. Therefore, isn’t it much more effective to plan small actions of 5 minutes per day to achieve small goals? Yes, it is!
Five Minute Workout (your new healthy habit)
Do you believe you can spare five minutes a day to jump rope, or do jumping jacks, or lunges around the house? Just five minutes. If you think, “Yes, of course, that’s easy.” Let’s make an agreement and start adding a daily five-minute movement of choice starting from today. I’m almost certain when you are able to do this, you’ll feel accomplished, motivated, and perhaps even increasing the time or frequency of the movement. You’ll find a routine, maybe a fixed time slot to do it. For example, right after you wake up, before lunch, or before taking a shower.
Eventually, this kind of small healthy habits will create a (powerful) ripple effect in other areas of your life. You’ll start to eat better, sleep better, and feel better.
You don’t have a motivation problem. You simply need a better approach and system to create healthy habits that work for you.
Rule Number 1: Keep It Simple
Likewise, you don’t need the motivation to brush your teeth in the morning correct? You’ve learned this healthy habit since you were little to take care of your dental health. You brush your teeth two minutes in the morning and two minutes before going to bed.
When you make it easy and short, you don’t need motivation.
Even when you don’t feel motivated, if it’s easy, you will still do it. This is backed by behavioral change science.
Netflix, YouTube, all do the same thing. They roll one episode into another. (have you noticed?) So before you’ve had a chance to turn off the laptop, because you really, like really need to go to bed, you’re already rolling into the next episode of Money Heist or Emily in Paris. They make it so easy for you to stick with them. No effort needed. This is understanding human behavior.
So rule number one when trying to create healthy habits in your life is to make it easy. Because when you lack motivation, and that day will come, you’ll still able to do it. Just like brushing your teeth.
Rule Number 2: Stack The Habits
Moreover, it’s also important to strategically schedule your newly created habit. When are you planning on doing 5 minutes of jumping jacks? It’s highly effective to do this while you’re doing another habit such as brushing your teeth or making your smoothie or coffee in the morning. While you’re waiting for your coffee to be ready you can easily squeeze those 5 minutes of jumping jacks. This way, it has nothing to do with motivation or willpower. It’s simply because you know that healthy habits are stacked upon each other. These are the rules to follow in creating habits that last.
Diet mentality has gotten us to think that in order to be healthy we need to deprive ourselves. That it’s about punishment and willpower. That it’s really hard and complicated to achieve optimal health and wellbeing.
This is simply not true.
Start with these two rules and reap the benefits by keeping it simple and stacking a new healthy habit on top of another.
Dr. Chatterjee continues in his book about these “healthy snacks.” These simple five minutes practices that you can do to help your mind, body, and heart and eventually create that healthy habit that works for you.
By just following the simple healthy snacks for five minutes a day, do three of them throughout the day, and you could actually change your entire life, mind, body, heart. Each health snack will focus on a different aspect of your health: Mind, Body and Heart.
So you spend five minutes working on your mind, which helps reduce levels of stress and anxiety. For your mind, you could think about meditation, breathing exercises, walking in nature, or a nourishing brain-boosting smoothie.
Add a five-minute health snack for your body, which will get you moving more. It would be simple movements such as stretching, jumping jacks, sit-ups, or lunges.
Then at last a health snack for your heart. This helps strengthen your essential connections in life, so these are things like calling a friend, date night, or keeping a gratitude journal.
Starting small does really, really work. These small things add up.
Celebrate Your New Healthy Habit
At last, celebrate each snack! We are wired to receive rewards. When we eat that ice cream or donut we feel an instant sense of joy and satisfaction, it’s a form of reward. You’re wired with emotion. There are certain emotions and feelings attached to eating ice cream. You have to do this while you’re creating healthy habits, by rewarding yourself, and feel great afterward. This will only motivate you to keep going, because you feel good about yourself.
There are different ways to do this. One of them is a visible representation. Things like a wall chart, perhaps you’re familiar with them since doing online learning with your kids. My kids love to receive a sticker after a successful day of online learning. They feel accomplished, proud, and happy about themselves. These are feelings you want to keep cultivating, especially when creating new healthy habits.
Choose your personal healthy habit for the coming weeks and keep showing up for yourself. Tick each day off on your wall chart so you can see your progress. Whether you’re a busy CEO running your business or a stay at home mom. Please give this approach a try in creating healthy habits by simply adding these healthy simple 5-minute snacks into your daily routine.
What are your “healthy snacks?”
P.S. Check out more mindset and mindfulness tips here.