Much of our daily life has become habitual. In fact, studies have shown that habits account for around 40% of our behaviour on any given day. Therefore, whether you’ve built several good habits, or are increasingly developing bad ones, they have a significant effect on our overall health and wellbeing.
Research has shown that it takes 66 days on average to form a new habit, therefore creating new beneficial habits is not an easy process. But with a few key strategies in place you can begin to improve your overall wellbeing with healthier habits.
How do you Create a Habit and Stick to It?
Individuals often find it very difficult to create new habits as they tend to take a long time before they become second nature.
One of the ways to create a habit that sticks, is to start with something so small that it’s almost impossible to say no to. For example, if your goal is to improve your fitness by completing 100 press ups a day, start very small, with only 5 per day.
By starting with only 5 a day, it becomes almost impossible to find a reason not to complete the new task. Even if you make it to your bed time without having achieved your 5 press ups; you can simply do them quickly there and then before heading off to sleep.
As you build momentum, your motivation to stick with the new habit will build, and you will start to feel guilty when the habit hasn’t been ticked off the list. Much like the feeling of guilt you encounter when you forget to carry out a daily habit such brushing your teeth.
From your starting point, you can then start to incrementally increase you habit, to 6 press ups per day, 7 press ups, 10 press ups, 20 press ups, and before you know it you’ll be up to 100 per day and looking to increase the amount even further.
4 Bad Habits That Negatively Affect Your Wellbeing – With Fixes
Some of your daily habits are having a detrimental effect on your overall wellbeing, influencing all kinds of other factors such as your performance at work and your personal relationships.
Here’s a list of 5 of the most common bad habits and how to beat them:
Going to bed late
Something many of us are guilty of is going to bed too late. Regardless of whether you are a “night owl” or not, most adults have to be functioning by at least 9am. Therefore, going to bed late makes getting 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep impossible.
Studies have shown that late sleepers are less likely to get enough physical exercise, eat enough vegetables, and tend to rely on fast-food options much more. Thus, earlier and better-quality sleep will help you to make better choices with nutrition and exercise.
Make a start on your new habit by turning off all devices so that you can not be distracted by emails or social media, switching off all lights and getting into bed 5 minutes earlier than the previous night. Keep working back in 5 minute-increments until you arrive at a bedtime you are happy with.
Sitting for long periods
If you work in an office, then it’s likely that you spend long stints sat at your desk. But sitting uninterrupted for long periods of time can be bad for both your physical and mental health.
Sedentary behaviours such as sitting down for hours at a time have been linked to increased risks of contracting diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. What’s more, other research has shown that those who sit for long periods are more likely to experience depression.
Start to break this bad habit by taking a break and introducing one 5-minute walking break per day of work. This can either be around your building or outside if you work in a small office. Then build until you reach up to 30 minutes’ worth of breaks spread out throughout the day. A walking lunch break can also be a great idea.
Scrolling through social media
It has been well-documented of late that the amount of time we spend on social media is not good for our wellbeing. Multiple studies have shown that prolonged exposure to social media platforms lead to higher instances of feelings of isolation and depression.
Rather than envying someone else’s lifestyle on Instagram, look for ways to increase inter-person interaction which is proven to improve wellbeing. Make an effort to have just one social interaction with a friend or colleague per day, and gradually build them up until you have several inter-personal interactions each and every day.
This could be in the form of having lunch with someone or scheduling a break together.
You can also limit yourself to 2 or 3 hours of social media per day (depending on your current use), before taking 5 minutes off that total each week until you are at a time limit where you feel it’s use is not detrimental to your wellbeing.
Eating between meals is not by default an unhealthy habit. Several studies have shown that eating more often has no material effect on our weight, with more emphasis placed and what and how much we eat.
But eating between every meal time with unhealthy choices is likely to lead to increased cholesterol, weight gain and other complications associated with poor nutritional choices. This is particularly the case in the UK where we eat far too many sugary snacks such as biscuits.
Break your snacking habit by reducing your amount of snacks gradually over time. For example, if you consume 5 snacks in between meal times per day, reduce that to 4 per day for one month, 3 per day the next month and so on. Within 6 months you’ll be able to easily survive those periods in between meals without eating anything.
Better Habits Lead to Better Health and Wellbeing
Our habitual behaviour has a large influence on our health and wellbeing. By gradually reducing old detrimental habits and creating new good habits and sticking to them, your daily life can transform quite dramatically.
When it comes to making better choices we can help. With the DocHQ app we give users a wide range of discounts of some of the biggest names in the health and wellness industry. What’s more, you can get fast information about any symptoms you may be feeling with our in-app symptom checker. Don’t hesitate to download the DocHQ app from the Apple app store or the Google Play store today.
DocHQ Ltd is a Health Tech company improving choices. We help you connect efficiently to health support and advice whether you are at home, work or travelling. See our website for our services or call us on 0330 088 0645.