Bad habits can form without you even realising, and before you know it, they become part of your everyday life. Especially following 18 months of the pandemic and multiple lockdowns, it can be hard to change and commit yourself to a new routine. It can be easy to be enthusiastic about our intentions to change but creating new habits can be difficult to maintain. Don’t worry, our best Aberdeen nutritionist and health coach is always on hand with motivation and guidance to help you lead a happier and healthier lifestyle.
What are habits?
Habits are a behaviour pattern that forms over a long period of time due to repetition. They are something that become second nature to us, and they can be triggered by other external factors. It could be buying a coffee and muffin on the way to work or going for an early morning run – but something simple that you do regularly is a habit.
Not all habits are bad, and habits provide structure and stability to our lives to make it seem easier. It doesn’t matter which one’s you have developed; they all determine our lifestyles. However, it is difficult to break bad habits and form healthier one’s. Humans are naturally programmed to stay in a comfort zone, and change does scare us – no matter how small that change may be. Some research suggests that because habits are so deeply embedded into our psyches, more often than not, willpower alone will not be enough to rectify the issue. It takes time, patience, stepping stone goals and discipline to morph those bad habits into happier and healthier ones; and using a fitness and nutrition coach can make all the difference.
I don’t even know where to start…
Changing your habits is about creating a new ‘normal’, so that healthy living becomes a part of your way of life rather than something that you need to do every day. For example, do you think about whether or not to brush your teeth in the morning, or whether you want a shower at night? These are just some things that we give very little thought to – they are part of our routine that we complete on autopilot.
When it comes to making healthier food choices, or incorporating exercise into our routines, most people need to actively plan and think about doing these things. They are not on autopilot, and as our sports nutrition coach knows, people tend to give them a lot of thought and end up talking themselves out of it!
What if you could make going to the gym or for a run, or choosing healthier food options, an automatic reaction without having to think about it? Instead of heading straight home to watch telly after work you automatically go to the gym, or instead of having a coffee on your break you reach for the bottle of water. The most successful clients of ours are those who have been working together with us to form new habits, and they have made healthy living an automatic response.
I know what I need to do, but I don’t end up doing it
Before you can tackle the problem of replacing a bad habit with a good habit, you need to be mentally prepared to detach yourself from that habit. With proper focus and willingness, and help from your fitness and nutrition coach, you will find that you will be able to overcome any habit you are wanting to change. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you start to think about changing your habits:
- Get organised – you need to figure out what bad habit you want to want to break, and look at how it lies in your pattern and routine
- Start with one habit at a time – if you start small and overcome one bad habit at a time, the chances of you succeeding are a lot higher. You don’t want to go in guns blazing and become overwhelmed.
- Decide what you truly want to change – you don’t need to change every aspect of your life in order to become happier and healthier. You need to look at what you are changing for yourself, and not because you think it fits an overall image.
- Don’t judge yourself if you make a mistake – just make sure you don’t fall straight back into the bad habit. Your sports nutrition coach will be there to help, guide and motivate you
The success of breaking a bad habit lies in being able to replace it with a good one. If you try to disengage with the bad habit and don’t replace it with anything, it can be incredibly tough. Unfortunately, there is not a one size fits all plan when it comes to changing your behaviour, and your fitness and nutrition coach will work closely with you to create a tailored plan to help you lead a healthier life. Here are some healthy habits you can try to incorporate into your routine to make a start on your happier and healthier lifestyle:
- Make healthy eating a default – This can be one of the hardest, and your sports nutritionist coach can help you work out swaps that you are comfortable with. Making healthier food choices can significantly impact on your mood and lifestyle, and once your sugar cravings have subsided and you no longer reach for mid afternoon snacks, you will find there is more spring in your step!
- Water – how much water you should be drinking is all impacted by your activity levels, nutrition and other factors, but staying properly hydrated can positively impact your mood and appetite.
- Sleep routine – A good sleep routine is one of the key foundations of a healthy lifestyle, and making sure you stick to what your body needs is an important good habit to form.
- Stay positive – if you fail, don’t ignore your new routine and go straight back into old habits! Failures are inevitable, but by staying positive and motivated you can get back on track as soon as possible.
- Treat yourself – this doesn’t mean order a takeaway every night, but there are ways to treat yourself to keep you on track. Order new workout gear, run a nice bubble bath or treat yourself to a new book. By giving yourself healthy incentives, you have something to work for.
Habits structure our everyday life, and we need them for stability. By making a few small changes and sticking to them you can create a healthy routine that leads you to a much happier and more fulfilling lifestyle. It does take discipline and willpower to be able to stick to your new routine, so if you are worried, or are finding yourself straying off course, you can get in touch with our Aberdeen fitness and nutrition coach for help and guidance.