What are the habits that put and keep us on a path for having the best chance of achieving and sustaining wellbeing?
What are habits?
Are you aware that it is estimated that 40% of what we do each day is habit?
Yes, almost half of the decisions you make are likely not one’s you think through, rather they are driven by what I call automatic thinking. Why?
- Automatic thinking is used by our brains to take the load of us having to think through all decisions.
- Each day we make hundreds if not thousands of decisions, small, big and large.
- You can think of your brain having an enormous filing cabinet.
- A filing cabinet where it has stored your previous experiences.
- It holds all your previous decisions, associated emotions, behaviours, ready for recall.
When you are confronted with a decision, e.g. what will I have for breakfast? Your brain reaches in and pulls out what your normal choice is.
Become aware of the habits you currently have. Ask, are my habits supporting, neutral or undermining my level of health and wellbeing?
What you do each day will become part of your normal routine. It will become what you automatically choose to do. You may vary the routine based on day, time or location, however your normal choice will become your first automatic choice.
Your normal choice may be to choose a healthy breakfast or your normal choice may be to choose a less than healthy breakfast.
Have you ever wondered why you keep buying that sweet muffin each morning that you promised yourself so many times you would give up?
Choose wisely what you do each day. Because the more you do it, the more you do it, if you get my drift.
Habits the same for all?
I am often asked what is the secret list of health and wellbeing habits? There is no secret list, however there is a list of what I call foundational habits.
However be aware that habits that work for some will not necessarily work for all. We are all different. We vary in age, sex, life stage, life demands, work situations, cultural backgrounds, education, wealth status, health status and I could go on.
And we are all looking for a quality of health and wellbeing that supports, enables and suits our own lives.
Consider what is practical, realistic and works for your life. And only commit to creating a habit that you can achieve. Eating a healthy breakfast is achievable for most, but doing a 10km run 4 times a week is only for those who love running.
Change takes time
It is estimated it takes on average somewhere between 120-180 days to create a new habit. That is 3-6months. I know it may seem like a long time.
To create a strong, clear and unequivocal habit you have to have the same thought over and over again for a sustained period of time. Creating a habit is akin to putting the foundation of a house in place. So create realistic expectations, creating a new habit takes time, and yes there will likely be set backs.
Be clear on the outcomes you want to achieve and then identify what habits are required to achieve them.
And practise, practise, practise and practise the habits you have identified. You can never practise too much.
And prepare for the set backs, know it is normal and you need to get recommit to get back on track.
Essential health habits?
Okay, I know you want a list. We all want a list. So here is your list.
However it is not a secret list, nor a list for a specific person.
It is a list of what I have come to understand is the foundational habits of those who are most successful in achieving and sustaining health and wellbeing over time.
- Healthy eating, generally 3 meals a day plus snacks as required.
- Moderation and balance in what we eat and drink.
- Quality sleep. Waking feeling recharged & refreshed.
- Staying active. Being consistently active and on the move throughout the day.
- Enjoying life. Laughing, be childlike, silly, whimsical and free, regardless of age.
- Flexibility. We live fast paced demanding lives, staying flexible will help reduce stress.
- Chillax time. Chilling, relaxing, resting or recharging, whatever you call it. It is essential.
- Me time, time out by ourselves, I call it quiet time. No objectives, nothing to do, no where to be.
- Family, friends and loved ones to share and enjoy life with.
- Ability to let go, an understanding and acceptance that this too shall pass.
- A sense of purpose, being in touch we our own clear sense of purpose.
- Gratitude for the life we have and those we have in it.
Safe, happy, healthy and free
Life is a journey. I know I sound like a greeting card. :-))
And at the risk of sounding further like a greeting card, I would like to highlight the importance of the journey. The journey is you living life.
So my final note. If you are seeking to make change and you would like support, I would love to work with you.
As a coach and nutritionist I will help you identify and create the health and wellbeing habits unique to you and the health and wellbeing you seek. I do tailored programs. Or you may wish to consider a program I created to support and enable habit change.
I wish you good health, take care.