How to Nurture a New Healthy Habit
One of the hardest parts of getting healthy is forming new, healthier habits. That is, not just doing the right, healthier thing one time, or even a few times, but truly integrating it into your lifestyle. After all, we know that getting healthy isn’t going to stick if you don’t make a real lifestyle change, but it can be difficult to figure out how.
Why is it So Hard to Form a Healthy Habit?
It’s not—but we perceive it as difficult because it’s so easy to form bad habits. Why is that? Two words: instant gratification. Think about your bad habits—sleeping in, skipping the gym, hitting up the drive-thru for fast food, having a couple of extra glasses of wine.
What do they all have in common? Instant gratification. You get the positive results of indulging in those negative behaviors immediately: warm cozy covers, getting to watch an extra episode of your fave show, crunchy warm French fries, a pleasant buzz. Basically, your bad habits are immediately, positively reinforced. Of course, the negative results—less productivity, flabbier muscles, weight gain, and the next morning’s headache are still coming—but they’re off in the future, and you don’t immediately associate them with the bad behavior.
Healthy habits are often opposite. You get the inconvenience first, almost immediately. Waking up earlier? Those grumpy sleepy few minutes and the discomfort of leaving your blanket cocoon. Hitting the gym? Missing out on couch cuddle time and sore muscles. Munching on celery instead of getting an extra burger on the way home? Well, celery instead of a burger. And switching to water on girl’s night out? No pleasant buzz and being called a buzz kill. The good results are cumulative, and come later, so it’s harder to directly associate them with the good behavior.
How do I Overcome Instant Gratification?
It’s easier than you think. First, instead of trying to change everything at once, pick one good, healthy habit you want to cultivate. Choose a healthy habit that’s likely to get good results sooner, like choosing an earlier bed time so you’re more rested.
Next, build a small ritual around your new habit, something that reinforces it in your mind. Set an alarm on your phone to warn you an hour before bedtime. Use that time to take a warm bath, put on cozy, clean PJs, and take your Nuez de la India seed or supplement. This little ritual can help reinforce positive feelings about your habit.
Then, set a small goal: you’ll follow your new habit for three days in a row, then evaluate how it’s affecting your life. Three days is nothing, you can make it work! Then another three days. By now, you should be starting to see positive results—feeling more energetic during the day, hating your alarm clock less.
Meditate on those positive results and draw connections between them and the new healthy habit.
Once you’ve completed 30 days, your new habit will be fully integrated into your lifestyle… time to find a new healthy habit to cultivate!