4 Steps To Create Healthier Habits in 2023
The strength of your habits is found to correlate to behaviour change. Habits are used to ‘bridge the gap‘ between intention of changing a behaviour, to the action of actually changing it. Strong, positive habits are imperative when your motivation is low.
There are four stages of changing a behaviour:
This is the stage where you are thinking about changing. At this stage you’re unsure of how to implement habits without the roadblocks. At this point you recognise that your health will improve with a few small changes.
How to progress to the next stage: The leap from thinking about change to making them can be difficult and may take time. Create a list of the benefits to changing your behaviour/habits, and also think about the barriers that may hinder you from implementing the habits. Think of it like a ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ list for making the change.
This is the point where you have made the decision to make changes to your habits. You may be considering specific goals or have already crafted your own.
How you could progress to the next step is by creating a list of the roadblocks you may encounter from implementing the new habit or behaviour and create a solution to these problems.
- ‘I don’t have time’ – Set time aside for grocery shopping. Batch make a few freezable healthy meals or prep for the week ahead. Try fit in movement wherever possible, such as getting off the bus one stop early or walking to get your morning coffee. See our Honey Lemon Chicken as a freezer-friendly meal.
- ‘I don’t like healthy food’ – Try making your favourite recipes in healthier version. Use simple swaps throughout your day to improve your health, without doing a complete overhaul of your daily diet. For example, swap full fat dairy or add in an extra cup of vegetables hidden in to your pastas/curries.
This is where the magic happens. You are acting on the plan you have set towards your improved health. You’re steadily overcoming roadblocks, you might not succeed 100% of the time but you’re aiming for consistency.
It’s important in this stage to track your progress. It also may help you identify old or new barriers and how they come up. You must keep reminding yourself of why you made the changes in the first place.
After reaching a short-term goal, make sure to reward yourself (ideally a non-food reward) to keep the momentum going.
This is the stage when the behaviour changes/habits have been in place for over 6 months. They’re normal to you and you don’t feel like yourself when you don’t complete the habit. If you have setbacks, you’re able to overcome it quickly without much effort. This builds more self-confidence in yourself to try new changes.
Now that you are comfortable with your new habits, time to change them up or layer on top of what you’re already doing. This could be trying a new type of exercise or trying to include more fibre with each meal. Go for it!
- Changing your habits for better health (no date) National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diet-nutrition/changing-habits-better-health (Accessed: January 24, 2023).
- Gardner, B. and Rebar, A.L. (2019) Habit formation and behavior change, Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Psychology. Available at: https://oxfordre.com/psychology/display/10.1093/acrefore/9780190236557.001.0001/acrefore-9780190236557-e-129;jsessionid=27AE7704A9D95B52608841FD4492617C#:~:text=Habit%20strength%20is%20consistently%20found,and%20intentions%20in%20regulating%20behavior (Accessed: January 24, 2023).