10 Science-backed Tips to Making a Health Behavior Change that Sticks
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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.
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.
Reward yourself and celebrate the goals you accomplish, and the milestones you complete.
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.
There are five stages in the process of shifting towards a healthy practice:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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