HOW exactly are healthy habits formed? Have you personally tried to break bad habits and keep the good ones going only to find yourself right back where you started? Ever wonder why some people seem to always get these things right? You are not alone. This is something we all struggle with and today we wanted to talk about some of the principles involved in building healthy habits.
I am turning to the classic book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey, for guidance in this area. Covey says that:
Habits are powerful factors in our lives. Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character and produce our effectiveness or ineffectiveness.
So you may be asking where I am going with all this. Well, when it comes to building healthy habits such as eating well, exercising, sleeping, getting adequate sunshine, and having healthy relationships it all depends on what we do day in and day out. Did you catch that, it depends entirely on what we do, or in other words what I do and what you do. This is a personal responsibility that no one other than yourself can do for you. The book defines responsibility as: “response-ability”- the ability to choose your response. It says that highly productive people recognize that responsibility and that they do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior.
Will you act or be acted upon?
When it rains does your day lose its joy, or do you choose to have joy regardless of the rain? When your best friend hurts your feelings do you emotionally eat the box of oreos, or do you choose to make yourself a balanced meal as planned?
Understand that you can always choose a different approach, you can control your feelings without them controlling you. This is a very important lesson to learn when it comes to building healthy habits.
Set a goal and keep the commitment.
In order to have personal growth we must each become aware of our areas of weakness and areas for improvement. In order to put yourself in control you need to make a promise and keep it. Set a goal and work to achieve it. Covey says:
“As we make and keep commitments, even small commitments, we begin to establish an inner integrity that gives us awareness of self-control and the courage and strength to accept more of the responsibility for our own lives.”
How to make the time to prioritize your health.
Have you ever seen this? It is Covey’s Time Management Matrix.
In order to build healthy habits we want to focus our time in quadrant II. This quadrant is important but not urgent. Spending time in the other quadrants can easily zap our strength and can leave us feeling as though we got nothing accomplished and never have time to accomplish anything. Ever felt like that? Covey says that prioritizing quadrant II is the heart of effective time management. Isn’t that what this all boils down to? Do we have the time to eat right and exercise? So in order to make more time for quadrant II you have to give up some things in quadrant III and IV. What are some things you can start giving up? For me, less reality tv.
Let’s start here.
I wanna wrap this up with giving you some homework to move you into quadrant II =)
1) Set your health goals. What are two goals you want to accomplish within the next seven days?
2) Schedule your goals. Go grab your calendar and schedule a time to achieve those goals. Example: if you want to do yoga twice a week for 30 minutes- then schedule it in. If you need some help check out this awesome online weekly planner based on the book that will help to do just that.
So there you have it. We hope this helps you along the way and leaves you feeling empowered to make healthy changes. Let us know what you think!!