5 Tips for Successful Habit Building

 5 Tips for Successful Habit Building

Building habits is hard work. If it were easy, I wouldn’t be writing this article. In fact, human beings are hard-wired to perform actions in a repetitive way. Rinse, wash, repeat. The challenge is getting yourself to get rid of the bad habits and replace them with the healthy, life-affirming ones.

We’ve had a lot of experience in the field of habit building, so we’ve decided to share with you our 5 most effective habit building tips.

Reward Yourself

Reward yourself

This comes as a surprise to most people – but just as important as adhering to your goals is rewarding yourself for your intention to do your best. That’s right – the reward comes whether or not you’ve successfully achieved your goal that week. That means that for every week you are setting out to build a habit, you should also be give yourself a treat. These treats can be anything – like getting a massage, visiting a museum, or sleeping in on Sunday.

 

Start small and realistic

Start small and realistic

Start with small and reasonable goals that you think you have a high likelihood of success. If this means only striving to do something once a week, that’s perfectly fine. It’s much better for you to succeed at making a change once a week then to set a goal of 5 times per week and only do it once. You’ll eventually start beating yourself up and may give up all together. Don’t strive for perfection; instead, do the best you can, and remember, tiny improvements quickly add up over time.

 

Focus on no more than two actions at a time

Focus on no more than two actions at a time

We strongly recommend that you focus on no more than two health actions at a time. Our extensive research and background in the field of habit building and wellness has shown us that most individuals can successfully incorporate a maximum of TWO new habits into their life at any time. Set yourself up for success and focus on one or a maximum of two habits at a time.

 

Be social

Be social

Get support from your friends and family. Tell them about what you’re doing and ask them to encourage you! And, if you’re feeling down or having trouble that particular week, seek support from your community.

 

If you are having trouble, change your goals

If you are having trouble, change your goals

Notice when things are becoming a bit too difficult and you are starting to feel frustrated. If you can’t achieve the action you set out for yourself, you have a few options:

  • First, reduce the target frequency. If your goal was to do something 5 times a week, try instead for 3 and see if you’re able to do that.
  • If changing the target frequency doesn’t work, go ahead and pick a different health action that you might be more likely to achieve.

Remember, success breeds success! Choose reasonable and realistic goals that you can actually achieve and grow from there.

For more tips and tricks related to habit-building for wellness, we suggest you download Mountain Trek’s brand new Habit-Building & Goal-Tracking App in which we guide you through the process of turning health actions into habits into lifestyle changes.

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Building Health Habits in 6 Easy Steps

Overall health and wellness doesn’t come by following the latest diet or health fad. It’s about how you live your life on a day-to-day basis and the kind of daily choices you make.

We believe that health and vitality are achieved through habit formation. This means taking small steps on a day-to-day basis that ultimately lead to big changes.

But, what do we mean when we talk about habit building and what’s the best way to go about it?

To answer that, we’ve broken down the process into 6 easy steps:

Identify your health and wellness goals

Step 1: Identify your health and wellness goals.

The first step involved in building health habits is to identify what your larger wellness goal are. This could be as simple as “get healthy” or “get healthier”. That’s great, but I’m going to ask you to break this down even further. What does “getting healthy” mean for you? For example, do you want to lose weight, improve sleep, reduce stress, increase physical fitness, etc.?

It’s highly likely you will have multiple wellness goals, and that’s great. Start by writing down a list of all of your goals and then prioritize them by order of importance. What do you want to focus on first? What’s most important to you?

Identify health actions associated with each goal

Step 2: Identify health actions associated with each goal.

You’ve made your list. The next step will be to identify a series of health actions that will help you achieve each wellness goal.

For the purposes of this exercise, let’s say you want to focus on weight loss. We will now identify health actions that will help you to achieve this goal. Whether you have a small or large amount of weight to lose or, instead, are just focusing on reducing your fat to muscle ratio, the process is the same.

Now, choose a specific health action associated with this wellness goal. For example, for our guests at Mountain Trek interested in weight loss, we might recommend the following:

  • Eating breakfast within 30 minutes of waking.
  • Eating only half of the food on your plate every time you go to a restaurant.
  • Packing two healthy and portioned snacks each day.
  • Cooking for yourself at least 3 meals a week.

Come up with a list like the above for each wellness goal you have identified. Remember you can add to it or change it any time! Now pick a maximum of TWO actions (from either the same or separate wellness goals).

Why do we recommend only two? That’s because our experience shows us that it is only possible to incorporate one or two new habits into an average person’s lifestyle at a time. Choosing only two actions at a time maximizes your chances of success.

Set a weekly target.

Step 3: Set a weekly target.

You’ve now decided on which of your health actions to focus on, and let’s say it is eating breakfast within 30 minutes of waking. The next step is to decide how many times per week you are going to do this.

At Mountain Trek, we recommend setting a target goal for yourself of no more than 5 days per week for each habit. That’s because our experience shows us that setting realistic goals and taking a regular break make it far more likely a person will succeed in transforming an action into a habit.

If you end up repeating your action more than 5 days a week, that’s just extra credit and we praise you for it!

If you end up not meeting your weekly target, don’t sweat it. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint and missing your target every once in a while won’t impact your long term results. What’s important is to get back on track and not to beat yourself up for an occasional slip up.

Monitor your progress and adjust if needed

Step 4: Monitor your progress and adjust if needed.

You know what health action you are working on and how many days a week you are going to do it. The next step is to keep track of it.

Write it down in your journal. Keep a piece of paper handy with a tally. Track it using your online calendar. Or, you can use Mountain Trek’s new Health & Habit Building App, which will keep track of your progress for you.

Whatever tool you decide to use, it’s important to monitor your activity, notice when you’re falling behind and congratulate yourself when you are achieving your goals! If you notice, for example, that you are having trouble eating breakfast within 30 minutes of waking 5 days per week, then consider adjusting to 3 days per week. If that still doesn’t work and you find it impossibly hard to have breakfast – then simply pick a new action to focus on!

Reward progress

Step 5. Reward your intention.

Here’s one of the best parts about habit formation – whether you are successful or not, you still get to reward yourself for your intention to do your best!

Rewards can be small or big, simple or complex. Some examples:

  • Treat yourself to a manicure or pedicure.
  • Indulge in a hot stone massage.
  • Go to the local Humane society and spend the day playing and petting mankind’s favorite four-legged friends. Or simply borrow your neighbor’s dog for an hour!
  • Make the time to indulge in a hot bath with some therapeutic rock salts or candles.
  • Attend a local art exhibition or classical music concert.

The list goes on! You get the idea. Every week you should “reward” yourself for your intention to do your best with some kind of treat that is not associated with food.

Track your progress

Step 6: Do this for 6 months

The final step is to stay at this action for approximately 6 months. Yep, 6 months. That’s how long it takes to turn an action into a habit. Once you reach this point – you are done! The action of eating breakfast within 30 minutes of waking has now become ingrained in your system, and you don’t have to think about it anymore.

It may seem like a long time, but the longer you do it, the more second nature it will become. And, as you keep performing the action, you’ll start to notice the positive impact it is having on your life and overall health – and you may even start to enjoy or look forward to it!

What’s next….?

Once the six months are over, it’s time to pat yourself on your back and go back to your original list of wellness goals and health actions. It’s time to pick another action or two and repeat the whole process!

For more tips and tricks related to habit building for wellness, we suggest you download Mountain Trek’s brand new Habit-Building & Goal-Tracking App in which we guide you through the process of achieving your wellness goals through habit building.

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Habit Building for Wellness

Habit Building for Wellness

You’ve decided you want to lose weight, get fit, reduce stress, sleep better? That’s great! The next step is figuring out how to start. A quick search on the internet might lead you to the latest diet fad or the newest fitness gurus, each with their own personal recipe for success.

If you’re like me, you might get overwhelmed by all of this and wonder when did health and fitness get so complicated? Well, I am here to tell you that it’s not.

Achieving wellness can be as simple as making small changes in your life on a day-to-day basis and taking incremental steps towards something that will ultimately lead to big changes in your life.

It’s all about turning actions into habits. Let’s break this down.

Actions repeatedly regularly over time = habits.

To put it as simply as possible, to turn an action into a habit, you have to repeat it over and over again until it becomes second nature.

Like brushing your teeth: you brush your teeth at least twice a day, when you wake up and before you go to bed. But, you weren’t born this way. Your parents drilled it into to you from when you were a toddler, and then you did it every day, twice a day, for years until it became a habit and you stopped thinking about it.

The more you repeat something, the easier and more ingrained it becomes. Building a habit is a simple as repeating an action again and again until it becomes habitual.

Accumulated habits = lifestyle changes.

The thought of making big lifestyle changes can be overwhelming, but when you break it down, lifestyle changes are simply collections of tiny actions repeated over and over again that then become habits. When you think about it this way, it may seem more manageable and less overwhelming.

Rather than focus on the lifestyle change or large health goal you want to make, what about instead breaking it down into discrete actions and focusing on them one at a time?

One action repeated regularly over time makes a habit and an accumulation of habits makes lifestyle changes.

Lifestyle changes = wellness goals.

From these actions which we transform into habits and which then leads to lifestyle changes, we bring ourselves closer and closer to our wellness goals. It’s these lifestyle changes which ultimately bring us to our wellness goals, whether that be weight loss, reduced stress, detoxification, fitness or better sleep.

For more tips and tricks related to habit building for wellness, we suggest you download Mountain Trek’s brand new Habit-Building & Goal-Tracking App in which we guide you through the process of achieving your wellness goals through habit building.

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