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10 Science-backed Tips to Making a Health Behavior Change that Sticks

One Thing At A Time

Making resolutions requires no effort, but if we decide to suddenly shift towards improving too many of our behaviors at once, it can backfire.

Focus on one thing that you want to change, at a time, and commit to it.

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10 Science-backed Tips to Making a Health Behavior Change that Sticks

10 Science-backed Tips to Making a Health Behavior Change that Sticks

https://medium.com/lifeomic/10-science-backed-tips-to-making-a-health-behavior-change-that-sticks-8655c3bbde50

medium.com

11

Key Ideas

New Year Resolutions that Stick

Whether it is a resolution to lose weight, to do more exercise, or to consume less sugar, we all have encountered hardships trying to stick with them.

Health-related New Year Resolutions are easy to make, but hard to implement. We all could use some healthy behavior changes that continue past January.

One Thing At A Time

Making resolutions requires no effort, but if we decide to suddenly shift towards improving too many of our behaviors at once, it can backfire.

Focus on one thing that you want to change, at a time, and commit to it.

What You Can Control

You may not be able to change the external circumstances, stressful situations, or work environment. What you can do is control how you react to negative forces and stressful situations.

For example: If you get unhealthy food at your home, you can control how or when you eat it.

The Social Cognitive Theory

The Social Cognitive Theory states that a mix of personal and environmental determinants influence our behavior, our beliefs and the outcomes we expect if we do act as planned.

Do Some Research

If you want to change your behavior, break an unhealthy habit, or develop a new habit, find out all the information about it.

Find out if it suits you and your body, and how much you need to push yourself. If you can see how it benefits you, it can work as a motivation to keep up with the change.

Towards a Healthy Habit

There are five stages in the process of shifting towards a healthy practice:

  • Contemplation
  • Seeking Advice
  • Preparation
  • Action
  • Maintenance of the new behavior.

Tell Your Friends

Seeking support, asking for help, or even making your progress visible to others helps you with social support and an added motivation.

It also weeds out potential cheat moments as your friends know about your regime.

Change Your Environment

Trying to create a new healthy habit while being in the same environment or surroundings can be difficult. Changing your surroundings to suit your new resolution ensures you adhere to it.

For example: If you are trying to cut on sugar, your pantry should not be filled with candy, but with fruits.

Social Peer Pressure

People get motivated socially, as there are a lot of people with you, engaging in the same challenges to lead a healthier and better life.

For example: If we see social media posts of a friend exercising regularly, it can help motivate us to be more active.

Small And Attainable Goals

We all want to accomplish a lot of things, some of which cannot be suddenly achievable. We need to work on small and attainable goals, inching towards our bigger goal, step-by-step.

For example: If you cannot suddenly start going to bed early, try going a few minutes earlier than the night before.

Celebrate Your Success

Reward yourself and celebrate the goals you accomplish, and the milestones you complete.

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... not an event. The transtheoretical model (TTM) presupposes that at any given time, a person is in one of five stages of change: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance.

Each stage is a preparation for the next one, so you mustn't hurry through or skip stages.

Precontemplation

At this stage, you have no conscious intention of making a change. People in this stage tend to avoid reading, talking, or thinking about unhealthy behavior. However, their awareness and interest may be sparked by outside influences.

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Authentic Motivation

Why we set our goals matters. If it is out of fear or social expectations, then they are not going to last.

Authentic values are what helps achieve our goals, as there is a never-ending supply of willpower when we are doing what aligns with our innermost core.

Use Positive Framing

Resolving that you won't have any alcohol keeps the focus on the alcohol. Instead of focusing on what you don't want to do, focus on the positive aspect, like drinking more water.

Use gratitude and other positive emotions to steer your mind out of any pitfalls.

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Sleep Hygiene

Objective: Get plenty of restorative deep and REM sleep on a regular basis.

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  • Measure the stages of your sleep
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  • Do not eat processed foods. Eat natural food instead
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Building better habits means changing your environment

Most people think that building better habits or changing your actions is all about willpower or motivation. But your environment has an incredible ability to shape your behavior.

Nowhere is this more true than with food.

The reasons we crave junk food
  1. The sensation of eating the food: what it tastes like, what it smells like and how it feels in your mouth.
  2. The blend of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates that it contains: junk food companies are looking for a perfect combination, that excites your brain and gets you coming back for more.

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