Habits are actions we take almost without thinking. They’re automatically programmed into a sequence of events, times of the day or situations we find ourselves in.
You will have already established a number of habits, such as washing your hands after going to the bathroom, checking both ways before we cross the street, and brushing your teeth before bed.
A new healthy habit may be to go to the gym, get up and walk every hour, ditch refined sugars, or choose to eat a more balanced diet.
The goal is to get these habits to the point where they’re done automatically, without having to think too hard about them.
According to research, it may take anything from two to 37 weeks (that’s around 9 months) for an action to become a habit. But on average, it’s about 66 days or two months.
You can do things to make the most of those two months as you build sustainable healthy habits.
Here are some of our top tips to help you form healthy habits – that stick.
Do it daily: Getting into a routine may be easier if you do the new action more frequently.
Set a reminder: Set an alarm on your phone to remind you stick to your new habit (don’t ignore it).
Find an accountability buddy: Find someone to help support you and keep you accountable. Find someone who can do an activity with you or remind you why you’re doing it. It may be a friend, family member, group or a health professional.
Keep it simple: Don’t make you new healthy habit difficult. Keep it as straightforward as possible.
Make it visible: Write down your new routine, stick it on the fridge or by your computer, have a screenshot of it on your phone. Remind yourself of what it is you have chosen to do.
Reward yourself: Plan times to give yourself a reward as well as what that reward will be.
Be patient: Remember, new habits take time for form, up to 9 months. So be patient with yourself. Accept that it will take time and it may not always go according to plan all the time.