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How to Create and Sustain 200 Good and Healthy Habits

How to Create and Sustain 200 Good and Healthy Habits

Imagine for a moment all the small decisions you’ve taken today or over the past few days. Now, can you identify all the habits you have formed in your life? Our lives are filled with recurrent and often subconscious patterns of behavior. They are formed and reinforced by our small daily decisions, so it would be good to know how to form our habits well!

Choose a positive habit to develop

First, we have to identify a positive habit we would like to acquire. It cannot be expressed in the negative form. For example, “Quit smoking,” “Stop complaining,” and “Stop watching TV in the evenings,” are extremely hard to form. Their positive counterparts are much better: “Take 10 deep breaths and think about my family whenever I feel I need a cigarette,” “Read three positive articles every day before 10 a.m.,” “In the evenings, read a book for at least half an hour.”

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If you want to fight some negative habit you already have, don’t think about simply getting rid of it; think about the positive behavior you would like to exchange it for. Human nature simply hates voids!

Your positive habit has to energize you because it will take weeks to become a pattern. For “Watch one TED video every day and think how I can put that into practice,” think about how inspired they make you. For “Do all tasks that take less than three minutes immediately,” remember the great feeling of accomplishment you will have. For “Note down whenever I lend anything out,” consider how you lost so many books already! And for “Communicate according to Non-Violent Communication,” think about how you want to really express what you mean.

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Once you’ve identified the habit, let’s start.

Take your time

Have you ever wondered how long it takes to form a habit? Imagine you want to start doing something or change one behavior for the other. Some people say it’s 21 days, but if you try to find the source of that information, you will probably fail.

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A great article on PsyBlog, “How Long to Form a Habit,” gives us the answer. To start drinking your daily glass of water, you will need approximately 15 days. However, if you want to start doing 50 sit-ups before breakfast, it will take you 254 days, which is nearly nine months!

The average time to form an automatic behavior is 66 days. You need to give yourself two months of daily repetition before the behavior becomes a habit. Give yourself some time and don’t give up too early! (And by the way, the study has shown that missing a single day did not reduce the chance of forming a habit!)

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Form 200 habits

Now I want to challenge you to start forming just one habit, right now. Think about one positive automatic behavior you would like to acquire. It can be very simple, but you should feel energized about it. Now put a reminder on your phone timed for just after you wake up, or put a note on the phone’s main screen. Make a sticky note on your computer, ask your family for support, write it on your hand, write it on the wall, do whatever suits your personal style and will remind you that you are in the process of learning something new.

On average, after 66 days, you’ll be done. It will be fully automatic. This is the time to pick up another positive habit. This way you can form six positive habits every year. Just think for a moment: in a year from now, you will have six subconscious positive behaviors! If you continue that process over the next 30 years, you will be able to form 200 good and healthy habits, just by working on one habit at a time. Exciting, isn’t it?

Start now

I encourage you to start this right now. Sit down, relax and think about just one habit, or make a short list. Focus on just one and simply start. Not this coming weekend, not tomorrow, not even later today, start it right now. In about two months you will be ready for another new habit. If you write them down in a list as you achieve them, years from now you will be able to notice the huge positive impact some small decisions made and how many of these previously so-much-desired patterns are now fully automatic.

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Piotr Nabielec

Author, CEO, Consultant

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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