Developing Healthy Habits

by Doris Donnerman
(last updated August 23, 2013)

Good health doesn't come from nowhere—it's based on establishing and maintaining healthy habits. Healthy habits are developed like any other habit, through commitment and persistence. Forming a habit begins with setting a goal, and is supported by behavior that supports that goal. Reminding yourself regularly of your goal keeps it at the front of your mind and can counter old habits that may try to creep back in. For example, if you're trying to have a more healthy diet, write down what you eat for each meal. You'll remember your goal every time you eat, and you'll be able to track your diet. You might also keep healthy snacks where you can see them, on your desk or on the kitchen counter. When you go for a bite, you'll be reminded of your goal and have the healthy option right in front of you. On a simpler level, small notes placed all around where you'll see them can be helpful as well.

But knowing how to develop a habit isn't the only step. You have to know what habit you want to develop, and when it comes to health you can break it down into three general categories: nutrition, exercise, and emotional wellness.

Nutrition may be the simplest but also most difficult change you can make. On a basic level, it's a matter of evaluating what you eat, making note of unhealthy foods, and replacing them with healthier ones. In practice, you may not find it so easy. It may be best to start slow, one item at a time. You'll want to follow the common advice of eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, avoiding excessive and unhealthy fats (think: deep-fried snack cakes), eating sugar in moderation, and drinking plenty of water. When you eat meat, try to eat lean cuts and consider adding more fish to your diet. Fish provides an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids, which are an important element of a heart-healthy diet. You should also ensure that you are eating breakfast each morning. Breakfast is one of the easiest meals to skip; when you're in a hurry to get to work or school, often the last thought on your mind is a nutritious start to your day. But breakfast can provide nutrients necessary to keep going strong throughout the day, rather than feeling your energy drop just before lunch and stay there. There's a reason it's called the most important meal of the day.

Healthy diet isn't the only habit to form, however. Exercise is essential to a healthy lifestyle, and adults should get 30 minutes of strenuous exercise each day. This may include any number of activities, although you should keep in mind that aerobic exercise is the best kind of activity for keeping your heart in shape. Exercising at the same time every day is a good way to make it a routine part of your schedule. You may find it easier to form an exercise routine when you have a hobby that involves exercise. The more enjoyment you find in something, the more likely you are to keep doing it.

Once you've got a good diet and a solid exercise routine, you're set, right? Wrong. Emotional wellness is the third key element in a healthy lifestyle. When your emotional self is off, the rest of your health can go too. This is a well-established fact with a number of different health conditions. Take time to do something relaxing, and be sure you're getting enough sleep. High stress and sleep deprivation often contribute to each other, and can have a huge impact on mental function and cardiovascular health. Also, make and maintain social connections. Studies show that people with supportive, close relationships enjoy better physical and mental health. If a serious health condition arises, a supportive network of friends is an important part of recovery.

Remember that the best approach to making a healthier lifestyle is a global approach. Diet, exercise, or emotional wellness alone is not sufficient; they all play an important role in your health. Establishing healthy habits may sound daunting, but integrating them one at a time can make the transition much easier, and help you in your quest for better health.

Author Bio

Doris Donnerman

Doris is a jack of all trades, writing on a variety of topics. Her articles have helped enlighten and entertain thousands over the years. ...

MORE FROM DORIS

Let Your Dog Tell You When It Needs to Go Out

It's a pain to have to guess when your dog needs to go out. What if you don't pick up on the signs and your dog ends up ...

Discover More

Do Sewing Repairs When You Wash Your Clothes

It's inevitable that you get rips and tears in your clothes—there's just no way to avoid it. One way to lessen the ...

Discover More

Washing and Caring for Wool Garments

Wool is an excellent material that can last you a long time, but it won't get you very far into the winter if you don't ...

Discover More
More Health Tips

Finding Balance in Life

Sometimes life seems to get out of control, and we forget what's important. Follow these tips to keep your life balanced.

Discover More

Protecting Your Important Health Records

We have so many different kinds of records to keep track of, but sometimes we forget about health records. It's important ...

Discover More

Different Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

We hear about heart disease everywhere—on the news, from the doctor, and from our friends. Heart disease is the ...

Discover More
Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 9 + 2?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)