According to the WorldWeb dictionary, the definition of a habit is “a recurrent, often unconscious pattern of behavior that is acquired through frequent repetition. An established disposition of the mind or character.”
Since habits are unconscious uncontrollable impulses, it means that in order to change a habit, one needs willingness to change, and of course, awareness of the habit. An unconscious habit has to be made conscious before any change can be made. Habits are so powerful that they control the way we live in terms of the things we do, the words we speak, and the decisions we make. It is therefore a sad thing if the controlling habit is a bad one.
Since habits are established by repetition, it is possible to acquire healthy habits through the same means. Though it sounds simple, most people fail to rid themselves of bad habits due to unwillingness and impatience. Breaking a habit that you have practiced for years and learning a new one in its place obviously takes time. Still, a willing mind can achieve anything it has set out to do.
Acquiring healthy lifestyle habits can mean losing extra weight. This will require a change in eating habits from high to low-calorie foods. It may mean saying no to cookies and fries and going for fruits and vegetables. Look at “sweet” foods as a special treat which you will reward yourself once you lose a certain amount of weight. It also means consistent water intake as a healthy means of boosting the body’s metabolism.
There are certain steps that you can take to acquire healthy habits:
a) Make a conscious decision to develop healthy habits. This means being aware of your current bad habits and making a conscious decision to change them. You cannot change something you are not aware of.
b) Make a list of the good habits you want to acquire. Examples of healthy habits include daily exercise, quitting smoking, positive thinking, or healthy eating. A bad habit is replaced by a good habit or vice versa. Therefore, against each bad habit you have, write a good habit against it that you want to have in its place.
c) Develop a realistic plan that involves daily goals to be met for the acquiring of healthy habits.
d) Develop a habit tracking system. This will come in handy especially after the first few days of leaning a healthy habit. Without a goal tracking system, you will not know whether you are making progress or not. An example of a tracking system is setting an alarm to go off after a number of hours as a reminder of repeating the new healthy habit. If the healthy habit is to drink more water, each time the alarm goes off, drink a glass of water.
e) Be persistent. Remember, a habit is learnt by repetition. If you cannot consistently practice the good habit, you can forget acquiring it.
f) Set a reward system. In your daily goals, set a reward system that will motivate you to persist in the acquisition of the healthy habit. Every time you make a certain level of improvement, reward yourself with something you like. If you fail to achieve a goal in the stipulated time, postpone the reward until you achieve the goal.
If you follow these steps, you will be on your way to acquiring healthy habit in the place of bad ones. Such an achievement will boost your self-esteem and add value to your life.