How To Develop Healthy Habits That Actually Stick
Most families have good intentions when it comes to healthy habits. Everyone wants to eat well, exercise, and get enough sleep and relaxation. Life, however, often gets in the way, causing families to fall back into bad habits.
Unhealthy activities, such as eating junk food and staying up late, can cause a range of problems. Kids who don’t eat and sleep well may feel tired and lethargic. They often struggle to perform at school.
It’s difficult to develop healthy habits when you’re busy and stressed. Why not take the time these holidays to lay the foundation for a healthy year?
Make a Plan
One of the main reasons people fail to maintain healthy habits is because they don’t plan ahead. It’s not enough to have good intentions, you have to set your family up for success. Eating well requires putting some extra thought into what you’re going to have for meals.
A weekly meal planner allows you to work out in advance what you’re going to eat so that it’s not left until the last minute. It’s too easy to reach for takeaway food when it’s getting late, and the kids are hungry. When you plan ahead, you can have nutritious meals pre-prepared that only need to be reheated on nights when you’re too busy or tired to cook.
Parties and get-togethers where there’s junk food available stretch everyone’s willpower. It’s a good idea to take some healthy food for your family to snack on. Nut bars, rice crackers and fruit are healthy options that help lessen temptation.
Set Realistic Expectations
Another reason people struggle to maintain healthy habits is because they try to do too much too soon. Instead of easing themselves into an exercise routine, for example, they launch into a strenuous workout on the first day. It’s hard to find the motivation to continue when you’re tired and sore.
If you want to improve your family’s fitness, choose activities which fit in with your lifestyle and schedule. Decide how much time you want to devote to each activity, and then start small. For example, if you want to take a thirty minute walk together a couple of times a week, start with a ten minute walk.
It’s also essential to give yourself some breaks. Allow your family to enjoy junk food and stay up late now and then in moderation. When you’re too strict, it becomes very difficult to maintain good habits.
Being able to maintain healthy habits while occasionally relaxing the rules requires strong self-discipline. This is something everyone has to develop themselves, and it does take time.
One of the best things parents can do for kids is to model this behaviour. Show your child how you overcome your struggles and temptations. Come up with some strategies you can all use to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
For extra motivation, you can create a vision board with your child to help them remember what they’re striving for. Find images that reflect their goals, such as good health or better marks, and display them where they can see them every day.
The good news is that the more you stick to healthy habits, the easier it becomes.