How To Develop Healthy Habits – At Horizon Plymouth our expert counsellors see clients from a wide range of diagnoses, mental health struggles, and life goals. Everyone that works with us has their own unique challenges and life circumstances, which is part of what we love about what we do. And, although everyone is different and dealing with individual problems, we often find that the implementation of healthy habits is an area in which many of our clients struggle. Creating healthy habits can change your daily life for the better by improving your mental and physical health but making these changes last longer than a week is hard enough without factoring in decreased mental health or associated diagnoses such as anxiety or depression. And, although everyone has their own unique struggles, there are certain steps that can be taken to help you implement a new habit.
The thirty-day challenge
When you are first looking to make positive changes in your life—be they general or related to a specific goal such as financial peace or physical activity—implementing these changes according to a thirty-day challenge can help ensure they stick around long-term. Although research isn’t clear about how long it takes for a habit to become incorporated as a behaviour, setting a goal of practicing a habit for thirty days makes the pieces much more manageable and more likely to stick beyond the end of the month. It gives you an end-goal to work towards and a deadline that allows you to feel accomplished once you meet it. Using a thirty-day timeline can also help you to break your overall goals into more manageable and sustainable pieces, as it helps you to space out your plan and to become comfortable with the implementation of one habit before introducing another.
Tips for developing a new habit
Once you decide to make life changes, it can be tempting to change everything all at once—essentially doing a complete lifestyle overhaul—while you are motivated and passionate about change. However, this practice is not sustainable and frequently results in the abandonment of the habit or habits altogether. Below are some tips that it can be helpful to consider when implementing positive lifestyle changes.
- Start small: making too many changes at once can be overwhelming and difficult to maintain. Start with one or two habits at a time, and only introduce new changes once the previous ones have been firmly established.
- Incorporate habits into your existing routine: Find ways to pair your new behaviors with something that you do already. For example, you could practice mindfulness during downtime that you already have or keep track of your finances during a time when you typically sit down to watch television.
- Break large habits into steps: When implementing large, difficult habits, it can be helpful to break them down into several smaller habits. If you wanted to start going to the gym 6 days a week, it could be helpful to start by only going 1 or 2 days a week.
- Forgive yourself: Creating habits isn’t easy and you will likely miss a day or want to give up at some point. However, just remember that this is normal, forgive yourself for your mistakes, and be patient with hard progress.
Horizon Plymouth counsellors have helped many individuals begin to establish healthier habits and patterns of living as they work through their unique challenges with our therapists. If you or someone you know would benefit from speaking with one of our expert team, don’t wait to reach out. No matter what your personal struggle or situation looks like, we can help you to take the first steps towards a healthier lifestyle and mental state. Contact Horizon Plymouth to schedule your initial consultation today.