Jan. 29, 2021

Forming new healthy habits

We often think of the new year or the new semester as the time to make goals for ourselves.

In reality, we should be reflecting on our habits and adjusting our routines on a regular basis so that we can reach our goals. Check out this post on healthier habits at home. Choosing healthy habits and making them stick can be tricky. Follow the tips below to get a handle on new habits.

Set yourself up for success

You know yourself better than anyone else, so choose your goals wisely and set yourself up for success. If you want to get in shape but have trouble sticking to a long physical activity routine, start smaller and build up to where you want to be.

Add a new habit to an existing one to reduce the mental load. If you want to get more stretching into your daily routine, add five minutes of stretching to something you already do, like making coffee. You should also focus on one habit at a time so that you don’t get overwhelmed, especially if you aren’t able to keep up. Trying to start too many new things at once can have the reverse effect on your mental health.

It’s also important to know your strengths and weaknesses. If you struggle with certain things, identify them early and seek out help. Student Wellness Services (SWS) offers Brief Action Planning, which is a 15-minute session with a health promotion team member that’s designed to help you improve your sleep, time management and physical activity habits.

Make a commitment to yourself

It can take 21 days to create a new habit, and in some cases, six to nine months. It might be difficult to think about committing long-term to a new habit when our reality is changing every day. If you struggle with the idea of long-term planning, focus on the near future instead and take it one day at a time.

Sometimes it’s easier to choose healthy habits when you know more about the reasons behind them. Make a point of researching why you should add something to your routine. Add a reward for yourself to create more motivation. If your goal is to eat healthy, make sure you know what healthy means for your body.

If it’s a bad habit you’re trying to kick, think about replacing it with a healthier one. For instance if you’re spending too much time on social media, try replacing this time with stretching or getting a glass of water. If you’re having trouble with substance use, read this post about safer substance use.

Choose kindness for yourself

Habits are hard to form and harder to break. While consistency is key, it can still be hard to maintain a new habit. If you forget or choose not to follow through today, be kind to yourself and try again tomorrow.

Habits might be the mind’s way of auto-piloting and conserving energy,. This can be helpful, but it can also lead to negative habits that are hard to break. Mindfulness might help you be more aware of the habits you are forming.

Stress and anxiety can get in the way of healthy new habits. Consider reading more on the subject or taking a workshop.

Additional resources

SWS has many different resources available. You can access self-help resources, attend a wellness workshop, speak to a peer listener or request a single-session counselling appointment. Find the support that’s right for you by visiting the website or calling to book an appointment.