People tend to act on autopilot on most parts of the day. From the time you wake up, to your food options, habits will usually dictate your behavior. Unfortunately, there are good and bad habits. Some are healthy while others are unhealthy.
In a study, experts discovered that healthy habits can help prolong a person’s life. These healthy habits include healthy eating habits, performing enough exercise, maintaining a healthy weight. But of course, it is easier said than done.
Now, if you plan on building healthy habits, it is important to avoid certain things. Here are some of the most common mistakes that people often commit when they try to build healthy habits.
Forgetting about rewards
Whether it’s convincing yourself to do more physical activities or eat healthy, the reward system in the brain will either make you want to repeat the activity or not.
For instance, people consume sugar regularly because they feel good after getting a surge of dopamine in their bodies. And even if dopamine neurons are less than 1% of the brain’s total number of neurons, this can have an impact on brain functions.
If you’re trying to do something difficult but healthy, it is better if it involves positive reinforcement. For instance, working out for X number of days could mean that you can get an hour of massage. Or perhaps, you get to eat your favorite foods at the end of the week after completing X number of workout sessions.
A lot of people forget that they are driven by rewards. Unfortunately, some simply do things only with a long-term goal in mind. For example, people trying to lose weight and go on a caloric deficit for weeks only to realize that it’s difficult. Without any reward every few days, people will lose their drive to stay on track.
Getting rid of too many bad habits/forming too many new habits
While it is good to make the necessary changes in your daily routine, it is also important to be self-aware whether you are overdoing your transformation.
Getting rid of too many bad habits and forming too many new ones can also be a bad thing. In most cases, you’d end up falling short. And worse, you might even drop everything and just go with your old habits.
What’s the best thing to do when trying to eliminate a bad habit? Keep in mind that changing one bad habit is already hard enough. Don’t overwhelm yourself.
Whether you’re trying to quit smoking or looking to switch to a vegan diet, starting big is often considered a blunder. Keep in mind that big actions will require big efforts. Sometimes, it could be too taxing psychologically or even financially draining.
For smokers, cold turkey isn’t always effective. Some smokers effectively kick their habit by reducing the number of cigarettes that they smoke on a weekly basis. The same goes when you plan to change your diet. Switching from meat-based meals to a vegan diet will require preparation not only with your palate but even with the things you’re going to buy in the grocery.
Failing to identify triggers
Bad habits usually go with triggers. For instance, some people overeat when they are stressed. On the other hand, other people feel hungrier when they don’t get enough sleep. Try to write down your activities and try to look at the patterns of your behavior. From here, try to look for the triggers that made you do unhealthy activities.
Next, can you get rid of the triggers? Is there a way to minimize the effect of the trigger? If it is stress that makes you overeat, perhaps do something that can help you de-stress? Or maybe, avoid things that can make you feel stressed.
Not creating an environment that can reinforce good habits
Some habits are reinforced in certain environments. There is a reason why people who overeat often continue with their bad habit if they stay in a house full of overweight and obese individuals. Also, it is not surprising if fitness enthusiasts love hanging out with other individuals obsessed about their health.
Try to assess your environment. Does it feed you with the right energy to go for positive changes in your life?
At times, you can start by changing your environment. You’d be surprised how you are going to adapt to your new environment and organically exhibit better habits. Some people sign up for a gym before even knowing how to lift weights and use the equipment.
Not tracking your progress
Some people become frustrated by the number of things that they have to change about themselves. And sometimes, it can be demoralizing to find out that you haven’t reached your goals yet.
If you feel that you are not yet where you want to be, perhaps, you can be objective and see how far you’ve gone. Without properly tracking your progress, it is going to be hard to see if you’ve slacked off or if you’re making steady progress.
Creating good habits and discarding bad habits can be difficult. At times, it is a trial and error process that we need to embrace. With these things that we’ve mentioned, you can commit fewer mistakes and find yourself meeting the fitness goals you’ve set.