Several years back, I adopted two rescue horses – BlackJack is an off the track thoroughbred and LadyBug is a quarter horse. A few years later, Bootsie, came along and she is another off the track thoroughbred. If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would be the owner of three horses, I would have looked at you like you had three eyes but here we are. Because I had never had horses, I needed to find someone to help me get up to speed as quickly as possible. Lucky for me, I found that person. Her name is Annie and I can call her any time day or night and she will be here to help me. The reason I’m telling you all of this is because as I was learning how to care for my horses along with actually learning how to ride them, I was told that if you allow a horse to do something three times, it becomes habit for them.
In all honesty I don’t remember who told me that or if it’s even true – I’ll have to ask Annie – but isn’t that interesting? Simply doing something three times and it’s habit. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to exercise three times and it becomes a healthy habit ? Imagine loving to run so much after doing it three times that we just can’t wait to jump out of bed every morning and run five miles before work. If ONLY this was true – we would all be healthy. Unfortunately, for us it takes anywhere from 21 to 30 days, sometimes longer, for something to become a habit – good or bad.
So how do we go about creating healthy habits or replace bad habits with good habits? We know it could take a month for our habits to stick with us so is there a way we can make the process easier? Lucky for us there are few tips we can use to that will make it easier for to create healthy habits. They are:
- Start small. If you want to lose weight, you don’t stop eating. What you do is make small, consistent changes to your diet. Add more vegetables. Drink more water. Reduce the amount of sugar. Exercise three days per week. Once you have adjusted to these small changes, you make more changes.
- Have one long-term goal that you can easily commit to. For example, you will drink eight glasses of water daily for 30 days. The short-term goal is reached because you’re drinking more water while working toward the longer term goal of doing this one thing for 30 days.
- Remind yourself. About 2 weeks into creating your healthy habits, it becomes easy to forget to stay on track. Put reminders somewhere you will see them or have a reminder on your phone so you stay on track.
- Be consistent. The more you do something, the easier it is to continue doing it.
- Find a partner. When you feel like quitting – which you will – your buddy will help you stay on track and you will do the same for them.
- Forgive yourself if you go off track. Creating new healthy habits won’t be easy. If you have a bad day, let it go and get right back on track.
Remember KISS – keep it simple silly. Work on replacing one habit at a time and you’re well on your way to a happy, healthy you.
To your health,