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What habits can I start tomorrow that will improve my life?

What habits can I start tomorrow that will improve my life.png

What habits can I start tomorrow that will improve my life?

Is there a habit that you badly want to break? Or a new practice that you desire to add to your lifestyle? 

According to the science of habits, knowing the advantages and disadvantages of a habit is not enough to produce the change in behavior that we want. We are all too familiar with making new year resolutions or setting up goals to change something for the better, and then falling back to our old habits. 

The power of habits 

University of Southern California (USC) psychologist, Dr. Wendy Wood found in her study that almost half of the actions we do daily are habits! We do them like clockwork. We don’t have to think about them, why we do them and how to do them any other way.

Her study also looked into the importance of context or the circumstances that surround and support a habit as something that is more powerful than what we believe or feel. 

Habits form as we repeatedly do acts until they become part of who we are, regardless of our intentions. 

Context change in action

So let’s say we want to drink more water, instead of consuming 5 cups of coffee a day. The habit of drinking more water will not start just because we know the pros of being hydrated. Instead, we need to change the circumstances around our life to support this desired practice. 

Maybe we can start carrying a big water bottle filled with 2 liters of water and change our route to work to bypass our favorite coffee shop so we can avoid getting some coffee on the way to work. In this example, we changed the context. We made water more accessible and the coffee more inaccessible. 

What are some habits I can readily start tomorrow for an improved life? 

  • Start a healthy morning habit. 

Food and nutrition

Studies have shown that just by eating together with family, family members can build healthier eating habits and improve their physical health. Doing this at least three times a week shows improvement in healthier food choices compared to those who don’t eat meals together.

Context change: Moving up the time you wake up a little and of course sleeping a little bit earlier, to make breakfast for the family the next day jumpstarts this habit. An easy and healthy breakfast alternative is low-fat frozen yogurt and fruit. 

Be offline. More mindfulnessAnother morning habit can be adding meditation and quiet time at the start of your day. Most of us often touch our phones immediately as soon as we wake up, but if we want to be more mindful of our social media consumption, we can choose to turn off our connectivity for a while. 

Context change: Instead of putting our phone within easy reach, put our journal or a book on meditation or prayer near us. That way, it is easier to start the day with a 5-minute meditation or silence. You can start increasing your meditation time as it becomes more ingrained in your days. 

  • Add moments of movement. 

Walking or body weight exercises. Living a busy lifestyle mostly means becoming more sedentary, making many in the population overweight or obese. Integrating the practice of reaching a certain number of steps in a day or accomplishing several minutes of body weight exercises can start a more active lifestyle. 

Context change: Set up an alarm for a specific time of the day that you will walk, regardless of what you’re doing and reward yourself with another healthy behavior after that. It will make you look forward to your walking schedule! If you are too busy, dividing and incorporating your desired number of steps into several parts of the day will make it easier.

It is true that you will need to make some effort into changing the cues around you. It requires time and practice to make one habit unfavorable and to replace it with something you desire more. If need be, you can talk to a psychologist or mental health professional to assist you in creating techniques that fit your certain characteristics and needs. 

Start with small changes, give yourself grace when you miss, and see yourself prosper in your new habits!

What habits can I start tomorrow that will improve my life?
Brandon Resasco