Have you ever started a diet or exercise program (or New Year’s resolution), but didn’t stick with it? If the answer is yes, then take comfort in knowing that you are like millions of other people, and that is okay. You set out with the best of intentions, but found it difficult to keep the momentum going. Oftentimes, with these healthy habits and resolutions, we rely on sheer willpower and motivation to keep us going, but that might not be the best approach, as is suggested below.
When you begin any new self-improvement program, your enthusiasm is naturally going to be pretty high. It’s the start of something new, something that will change your life for the better, and we’re all about it. You are simply motivated by the pleasure of what you want to achieve. But unfortunately, motivation naturally diminishes over time. When your motivation wanes, you’re more likely to rely on willpower. But no one has an unlimited reserve of willpower, it gets “used up” quite easily. Every temptation that you do not choose to give into depletes your willpower a little. By the time the evening rolls around, you may have used up your entire reserve. This is usually why we give in to treats like candy or fast-food at night, compared to earlier in the day. However, there is something else that you can rely on, besides willpower, to help stick to your healthy habits.
The subconscious mind is a powerful thing, and it dictates much of our life. This is sometimes why you get in your car, get home, and do not even remember the drive or how you got there. By consciously making the choice to create a new habit, you can use that power to your advantage, to create new neural pathways. Once you have established this new habit, and it becomes part of your routine, motivation and willpower are no longer as necessary.
Interested in incorporating a new activity into your routine, and making it a habit? Here are some techniques that can be applied to any habit you would like to make (Alban, 2013):
Make Sure you are Prepared
Make sure that you have everything you need to ensure your success. If you want to get up early and walk before work, it helps to lay out your workout clothes the night before; it’s one less thing you have to worry about in the morning. If your goal is to start eating healthier lunches at work, consider meal prepping. Many people find success in setting aside one night per week as their “meal prep” night, and they make enough food for the next several days, so that they are not tempted to get a fast food meal when lunchtime rolls around at work.
Set Small Goals
No goal is too small. Yes, setting large goals is exciting, but studies show that setting several small goals to reach that big goal is more likely to lead to success. If your goal is to complete a half marathon race, you wouldn’t start the first day of training by running all 13 miles…or even 5 miles. You would slowly build up to that end goal, by running maybe 15 minutes the first day, and slowly, increasing your time spent running so that little by little, you can get enough mileage under your belt to cross that finish line.
If you don’t enjoy something at least a little bit, you are not as likely to stick with it. Find ways to make your lifestyle change or habit as fun as possible. If your goal is to learn how to cook, enlist the help of a friend or loved one who already possesses cooking skills. That way, you can learn from the best, and also chat and catch up at the same time. It’s a win-win!
If you’re looking for some small changes you can easily make to really build that healthy routine and maintain your overall health, we have a few suggestions. First, is to take a daily probiotic! Taking a probiotic everyday helps promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria, and has been linked to a wide range of health benefits for the whole body, including digestive health, immune health, and more. One capsule of Kyo-Dophilus probiotic, for example, is formulated with three specially cultured, non-dairy, heat-stable, stomach-acid resistant human strains of beneficial bacteria, to promote healthy intestinal function, digestive health, immunity, and general well-being.
Apart from a daily probiotic, another great habit to develop is to increase your daily dose of greens. Most of us do not get nearly enough servings of greens each day, like kale, spinach, chard, etc. A simple way to start building more greens into your routine is to find a high-quality powdered green drink mix you can take every day. Kyo-Green Greens Blend contains barley grass, wheat grass, FOS, cooked brown rice, chlorella and kelp in a tasty green powdered drink mix that provides balanced nutritional benefits for the whole body.
Incorporate a few of these ideas into your routine, and you’ll have a healthier 2019! You got this!