Are you ready to kick your bad habits and replace them with healthy habits instead? As physical therapists, we work with people every day to improve their well-being after surgery, diagnosis or injury, but we also aim to help people improve their lives overall. Now, there are many types of “bad habits” out there, and we’ve seen them all. But let’s be honest, we’re all guilty of at least one! No matter what type of habit it is that you’re hoping to break, it’s typically easier said than done. So we’ve put together some tips to help you get on track so you can meet (and even exceed) your goals.
1. Know how long it takes to form a new habit.
First off, you have to have realistic expectations going into this if you truly want to be successful. Forming a new habit takes time, especially since you are trying to stop another habit. According to research, it takes on average, over 2 months (66 days to be exact) for a new habit to stick. It might help to remind yourself that the reason we fall back into bad habits is because not only do they usual seem easier, but they provide instant gratification. However, try to make yourself look at the rewards in terms of long term or short term gratification. You may find it easier to choose the healthier habit if you know that the payoff has bigger rewards down the road.
2. Breakup your main goal into small milestones and short-term goals.
One thing people try to do is to just jump in and go “cold turkey”, but that is not the best way to ease into your healthy habits. An example of this is when smokers try to quit completely cold turkey. Now yes, there are a handful of people that do it this way and succeed, which is phenomenal. But, it’s not the most practical approach. If you’re used to smoking 6 cigarettes a day, start by going down to 3 or 4 a day. Then set weekly milestones to decrease so that you are easing into it and can start feeling the difference, rather than shocking your system.
3. Find a powerful motivator
When you’re making a lifestyle change, there’s usually some sort of motivator behind it. Common motivators such as family members, an upcoming wedding, the ability to travel, or just for you –– it’s important to identify the purpose and driving force behind why you’re making these changes. That way you can remind yourself of your “why” when you are faced with an obstacle or temptation.
4. Have a support system in place
Is there someone you can tell about the change you want to make? If you have a large support system like a big and open family or circle of friends, that’s great. But even if you can just tell one person that you trust, it will help you to be accountable for your change. It’s definitely very tough to form a new healthy habit if you don’t have any support or someone you can talk to through the process.
Keep at it! Being in good health is the greatest wealth. Thanks for reading!
-OSI Physical Therapy