Developing healthy habits and eliminating bad ones takes a certain amount of sacrifice, and it can be challenging to accept and implement this. When one is facing issues with his or her overall health, significant changes may be necessary, and sometimes the decisions that need to be made will be difficult ones. What are some tips for handling these sacrifices and transitioning one’s life to a healthier place?
Creating lasting good habits often requires short-term sacrifices
Many people know what they should be doing in order to improve their overall health, but it can be a challenge to incorporate these things when most people lead busy lives and face numerous demands on their time. It is almost always necessary to make sacrifices of one sort or another, and there are some tips available on how to pin down the most efficient choices to make.
One key example, as Time notes, is that people often find it challenging to get enough sleep on a regular basis, and trying to fit in exercise on top of everything else often can be quite difficult. Which one is more important for overall health, and which one can be sacrificed to an extent? The answer to this complicated question will certainly vary from person to person, but ultimately, quality sleep builds the foundation of a healthy life.
Planning can pinpoint the best changes to target first
Rather than cut back on sleep for the sake of squeezing in exercise, for example, looking to other sacrifices may be more beneficial and reasonable. Time spent surfing the web or watching television, or other leisurely activities that do not necessarily contribute to a healthy lifestyle, should be the first places to cut back in order to incorporate healthier habits.
Reader’s Digest shares that acknowledging the harmful habit and being honest about how problematic it has become is key to making progress. Sometimes one bad habit goes hand-in-hand with another, and while it can feel like a major sacrifice, tackling those aligned habits can lead to greater success over the long term. For example, getting too little sleep and eating poorly in the morning or snacking late at night while using electronics may be combinations that are best tackled together despite the fact that it will feel like a major undertaking. A more extreme, debilitating example would be drinking in excess and then being unfaithful to (or even thinking about straying from) your spouse; giving up alcohol may seem impossible, but it will not only improve your physical health, it could also save your marriage, therefore promoting positive mental health.
Journaling or working toward small rewards can increase motivation
Creating a plan of attack helps many people when they are working on ending bad habits, and utilizing a detailed plan can help the changes feel like less of a discouraging sacrifice. Experts suggest setting goals with small rewards for accomplishing steps toward creating positive habits, and some people find that maintaining a log or a journal is especially helpful. Determine ahead of time how and when the new plan will go into place, and be clear with how things are expected to proceed.
When eliminating a bad habit feels like an overwhelming sacrifice, it can be helpful to embrace a new, healthier habit to replace it. In addition, as Zen Habits notes, focusing on just one small change at first can make the path ahead seem less daunting. Accept the fact that mistakes and failures may happen, but believe that carrying through on the change is possible, and push away the negative self-talk that may arise.
Eliminating bad habits and replacing them with good ones can be an overwhelming process. When one is facing health issues as a result of problematic choices, it may seem like extraordinary sacrifices are needed in order to see lasting progress. By planning carefully and tackling one small change at a time, bad habits can shift into good ones that can have a lasting impact on one’s overall health.