Change your Habits, Change your Life

How do healthy people stay healthy? They make it easy on themselves. They develop habits that are automatic. No decision making needed. Those habits lead directly to a healthy and strong body and mind. 

The key to eating healthier, exercising regularly, being financially secure and much more is understanding your habits and making changes if your current habits are leading you in an unhealthy direction.

The key to making healthy habits stick: establish a cue, routine, and reward.

Here’s how to do it, using exercise and healthy eating as examples.

Regular exercise

You know you should exercise consistently, but a lot of obstacles––very much including conflicting habits––prevent you from making it happen.

You need to establish a cue, routine, and reward.

Cue: Monday at 8:30 a.m. is exercise time. Get up, put your exercise clothes on and work out. Don’t schedule anything else, and don’t let anything interrupt you short of an actual emergency.

Routine: Exercising at that time.

Reward: Staying strong, healthy, and capable as you age. Being able to do things that require physical strength and balance as well as people half your age.

Healthy eating

Cues: on Friday, plan next week’s menu; on Saturday, buy groceries; on Sunday, prep food.

Routine: make the above happen and eat the foods you planned.

Reward: you are healthy on the inside and out. You feel good and know why!

No more obstacles

Look at your obstacles. What is preventing you from exercising and eating well? Is it time? Not knowing what to do? Laziness? Come to terms with your obstacles and you can make a plan to bust through them.

Let’s say it’s time. We all have the same amount of time in a day. Healthy people prioritize exercise, food planning and prep. This might mean taking a current habit out of your life, such as watching your favorite TV show or perusing Facebook/e-mail for hours. Or exercising while watching your favorite show. Do your exercise and food prep first, then bring Facebook time back in as a reward. Specifics are endless, but the process is always the same.

Fill your life with healthy habits and they will fill you up with happiness.

— Jill Strand

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Jill Strand