Habit psycologist Philippa Lally and TePe’s Head of Clinical Education Elaine Tilling reveal how making your health kick into a habit is the secret to success.
- It’s all about timing. Adopting a new healthy habit is all about timing. The best technique for developing a new behaviour is by incorporating it into an existing routine. So, for example, when you have finished brushing your teeth take a little extra time to clean in-between your teeth, and for healthy gums clean with floss or an interdental brush.
- Planning is key. Make sure you plan your day, so you know when to carry out your new healthier activity. So rather than reaching for that delicious chocolate bar at lunch time, plan to have a healthy alternative to hand.
- Be prepared. Plan ahead, particularly in the early weeks. If you are developing a healthier diet, make sure you have enough healthy snacks to see you through your initial stages. Alternatively, if your want to establish a regular workout, renew your gym membership before starting out, so not going is not an option and visiting becomes automatic.
- Look to the future. Don’t stop once you have reached your goal - you have already put in the hard work! Plan to continue your healthy habit beyond this point. The more frequently a new behaviour is performed and becomes associated with a regular time and place, the quicker the behaviour will start to be initiated automatically and become a habit.
- Set reminders. Stick a note on the front door as you leave or set an alarm on your phone to remind you that you have committed to this new routine.
- Be proud of your achievement each day. Record your progress each day and track how well you have managed to stick to your habit. Missing one day will not prevent you forming your new healthy routine. Simply remind yourself of the reasons you want to take it up and of your plan to do so.
- Better with friends. Challenge a friend/family member to try to create the habit with you. You can then support and encourage one another.
For more healthy living tips, pick up the latest copy of Yours