Humans are creatures of habit — we tend to wake up at the same time each day, have morning coffee, brush our teeth before heading off to work — following those familiar patterns every single day.
So why is it so hard to form new healthy habits?
According to behavioural scientists, this is because we often approach habit formation in the wrong way. We make bold or too many changes at once, or we rely on willpower alone to stick to our goals. So, if you're serious about creating lasting change, here are some tips, backed by research, for forming new healthy habits.
- Stack your habits - according to experts, the best way to form a new habit is to tie it to an existing habit. Essentially, you take a habit you already do every day, and pair it with a simple one you want to do every day. So, what does this look like in practice? If you’re a morning person, you might use your morning cup of coffee as a cue to meditate for one minute. Or, if you brush your teeth after every meal, you could use that as an opportunity to do some squats or stand on one foot to practice balance. If you have a nightly TV-watching habit, why not use that as a cue to do a single yoga pose? So next time you're looking to form a new habit, think about how you can tie it into an existing habit and make it part of your daily routine.
- Start small - we tend to bite off more than we can chew, go too fast too soon, and then get overwhelmed too quickly. These big behaviour changes require a high level of motivation that often can’t be sustained. The key is to start small making it as easy as possible to stick to. A daily short walk, for example, could be the beginning of an exercise habit.
- Do it everyday - the lesson is that habits take a long time to create so the more often you do something, the faster it becomes a habit. A study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, showed that the amount of time it took for the task to become automatic — a habit — ranged from 18 to 254 days. The median time was 66 days!
- Make it easy - it's not enough to simply want to change your behaviour; you need to create an environment that makes it easy for you to do so. This means getting rid of anything that might trip you up or make it difficult for you to stick with your new habit. An example of this can be meal prepping or making batch meals if eating healthy is your goal. Doing this reduces the steps between you and healthy eating because the meal is already cooked and in the fridge!
- Reward yourself - when it comes to forming new habits, rewards are essential. Just think about brushing your teeth— the minty freshness you feel after is an immediate reward. But some rewards — like weight loss— take longer to show up. That's why it's important to find ways to reward ourselves that are immediate and satisfying. For example, reward your new running habit with a reward that makes you want to keep running like a new pair of running shoes!
- Stay Positive - take it slowly and steadily!
If you are starting your new journey with Calocurb, congratulations! You have already taken the first step to creating a new healthy habit, it can take up to 16 weeks to reset your metabolism so establishing the habit early and sticking with it is key to success. Consider us your accountability partner, we are here with you every step of the way!