Good habits are the key to a healthy lifestyle. But what does it really take to form new habits? Simply put, habits are learned behaviors that you repeat without even thinking about them. These automatic behaviors lead to either positive or negative outcomes. Some practices include brushing your teeth every morning and evening, looking both ways before crossing a street and using a turn signal while driving. There are probably tons of actions you perform throughout your day without a second thought.
You can apply this same automaticity to your overall health. Unhealthy habits such as drinking soda or watching TV to relieve stress can be replaced with new habits like drinking more water, meditating and being physically active.
Habit formation relies on consistency. Here is a basic breakdown of how habits are formed:
Reminders, also known as cues, tell your brain to go into “automatic mode” and perform a specific behavior. Such as, if you are trying to drink more water throughout the day seeing a water bottle on your desk or counter is a reminder to drink up.
Routines are the actual behaviors themselves. To continue with the example above, drinking from that bottle is the routine.
Rewards are the last step of this process. Rewards help reinforce the behavior (routine) and create the new habit. To use the water example, the reward for drinking water is quenching thirst and preventing dehydration.
Over time, as you automate your actions and form new habits, you’ll experience greater rewards, further encouraging you to stick to your new routines. Eventually, these will become ingrained in your lifestyle.
Consistency is vital when it comes to supplementation
Dietary supplements are designed to be taken in specific ways –typically once every day– to deliver maximum benefits. If you regularly forget to take your vitamins or give up altogether before allowing enough time for them to work, you are only shortchanging yourself.
When you initially purchase a nutritional product or supplement, the desire for change is there. First, you research products, potency and find one that best fits your needs. And typically, those first days are the easiest because you are excited about the rewards (benefits) you’ll receive. However, many people lose that spark of excitement after a few weeks. Maybe you go on vacation and forget your supplements, have a hectic schedule or just lose sight of why you ordered them in the first place. The only way to remedy this is with the three Rs – Reminders, Routines and Rewards.
To help you identify your unique reminders, establish your routines and keep an eye on your rewards, use this simple calendar provided to track your Rs and stay motivated! You can download the PDF by clicking the calendar image below.