5 Simple Steps to Break Bad Health Habits

5 Simple Steps to Break Bad Health Habits
By Andrea Karwandy, 17 August 2016

Are you struggling to break bad health habits? If you answered yes, you are certainly not alone. But you are in luck because there are some simple steps to identify and break bad health habits. We all have routines that shape our day to day thoughts and actions. However, what most people don't realize is that the routines that have come to define our lives may consist of bad health habits that serve as roadblocks to maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Do you:

  • Binge eat during stressful situations?
  • Choose sleeping in over a regular exercise routine?
  • Eat sugary snacks when you know you should be eating healthy protein-rich ones instead?
  • Procrastinate when it comes to completing tasks?
  • Have one too many drinks during social outings with friends?

These 5 simple steps can help you overcome the habit that may be negatively impacting your overall health and wellness:

1. Identify the habit

Sometimes the hardest part of overcoming our “bad habits” is addressing the habit itself. It is time to come face to face with the fact that this habit is something that is impacting your day-to-day life. Maintaining mindfulness throughout this process is a crucial component of breaking the poor health habit. By maintaining such a mindset, you can take the necessary steps to take action. It is important to understand that you are not alone in having to manage the bad health habit. Our lives are characterized by a mix of stressors that can impact us all in different ways. A buildup of stress can result in poor health habits such as consuming large quantities of calorie-dense foods or choosing to stay up late rather than maintaining a steady sleep schedule. Whatever your “bad health habit” is, the first step is simply to identify what is causing your issues. Then, you can be on the path to overcoming that habit and integrating healthy habits that benefit your health and well-being. If your health habit is unhealthy snacking, substitute that candy bar or salty snack for a protein shake or multivitamin bar.

2. Ask yourself how the habit is affecting you

The next step in breaking a bad health habit is thinking about how the habit has affected you. How is it affecting your daily routine? Your relationships? How about your energy levels throughout the day? Construct a list of situations that come up when dealing with this habit. For example, you might find that stressful situations at work cause you to reach for calorie-dense snack options. Or, maybe you find yourself coming up with reasons to avoid making time for a balanced workout after work. This list can open your eyes to just how much this habit is impacting your overall health and wellness.

3. Formulate a plan

Now that you have identified the habit and constructed a list of ways that it is impacting your daily life, it is time to make a game plan! Ask yourself, what can I do to make the necessary changes? This may be small steps, such as packing healthy snack options to munch on at work rather than relying on heavily processed foods that are loaded with added sugars and high in calories from the vending machine. When it comes to building a manageable workout routine, you can set a block of time each week into your schedule that is dedicated to working out. That way, you have made the workout a part of your routine. The changes you can make may be small, but they are the first steps in the right direction of correcting your habit and creating new, healthier ones.

4. Put that plan into action

You have now addressed the habit, realized how it is impacting your daily life, and constructed a plan for change. It’s now time to act! It is now up to you to incorporate your plan into your life to maintain a balanced lifestyle. Remember that implementing the plan may take time. You may find yourself jumping right into the process, feeling 100% ready to make changes. However, this is not the case for everyone. All that matters is that you are taking those first steps. They may be small, but they are small steps in the right direction. Ease your way into the plan and see if it is something that is going to pair well with other aspects of your life. If you find yourself struggling, it may be a sign that it’s time to go back to the drawing board. By successfully addressing the bad health habit, you have now gained the necessary insight to reach your goal. The key is to keep fighting no matter what obstacles life throws your way. The insight you have gained from addressing the poor health habit will help you reach your goal.

5. Reflect on the change

Now, you have had the chance to break that bad health habit! How’d it go? A key step in breaking the habit once and for all is reflecting on how you feel now that you have made the change. Remember, it may take time and sacrifice, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on achieving your goals. During this process, you may find yourself resorting back to old habits in times of stress. You may even face cyclic periods of improvement followed by a relapse. No matter what happens, just remember the goal you set for yourself at the beginning of this journey. A single misstep doesn’t mean that you have failed at achieving this goal. It simply means that you may have slightly wandered off the path you have set and just need a little bit of guidance to find your way again. Keep reminding yourself that through mindfulness you have the strength to break down barriers, to climb mountains, and to soar beyond the sky’s limits. It takes commitment. It takes willpower. It takes balance. Most importantly, it takes time. Work toward finding that balance in your life. You are worth it! It’s important to realize that life can throw roadblocks our way, but it’s our ability to surpass these adversities that define who we truly are. Be open to the possibilities in life. Be open to change and break those bad health habits! Your body will thank you!
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