Let’s face it, old habits die hard. But just because an old routine is hard to break, certainly doesn’t mean it can’t be done – of course it can, and old habits get broken every single day. One of the key ways in breaking bad habits is to clearly understand the root causes of our habits. By doing so, you will gain insight into how-to break them permanently.
A new behavior typically takes 66 days or more, to become automatic – basically just a bit more than two months. Furthermore, the length of time it takes for a new habit to take hold, will likely vary greatly depending on the particular situation, the individual, and the activity.
Think about the mundane habits of your life – like brushing your teeth. Habits are behaviors we repeat without much thought. Now, I’m sure you don’t remember when you began creating this daily habit, but it occurred and has been a life-long habit without giving it much thought at all. Although habits appear to develop spontaneously, they were actually the result of a process; mainly an unconscious brain process.
In general, habits form when we do something that makes us feel good or helps us avoid being uncomfortable at the time.
It’s very easy to slip into autopilot and continue living the same routine day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. The small habits like smoking in a social situation due to nerves or having that daily glass of wine to unwind from a long day’s work, can easily turn into a bad habit that becomes an issue in your overall health.
You may believe that doing these things helps you to relax or simply feel better – but they are actually doing more harm than good. Psychologically favorable reinforcements can be powerful, even more so than your awareness that the practice can eventually harm your health.
These are the habits that most of us want to change – the psychological habits – the “feel good” habits that can be considered bad habits.
The good news is that there is something you can do today which will spotlight the bad habits and provide a viable solution in finally changing.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “what does exercise have to do with changing bad habits?” The answer – everything.
There are endless reasons why one should adapt exercise into their daily lives. Physical activity can strengthen your bones and muscles, help you control your weight, lower your risk of disease, and enhance your capacity to carry out daily tasks. But aside from the obvious physical health benefits, from a psychological standpoint, exercising leads to living a more confident life. This in turn opens the door to a level of healthy discipline that will ultimately carryover into all aspects of a person’s life.
That glass of wine you used to grab after work to relax, will begin to not look as enticing as it once did. That feeling you used to get to light up a cigarette in social situations, will slowly begin to dissipate.
When you begin on the path of daily exercise and living a healthier life; not just going through the motions, but really making health and fitness a part of your life, you will begin to analyze the things you do to yourself – both mentally and physically. From the foods you eat to the vices that were once present in your life – things naturally change and good habits begin to form.
When someone begins on the path of exercising and living a healthier overall life, their physical appearance is usually the initial driving force. Of course, we all want to look and feel good, but for those of us that have reached our physical goals, exercising becomes far deeper than the physical appearance – it becomes psychological. Exercising on a daily basis, will undoubtedly benefit your mindset, your relationships, your work - fill in the blank – it extends into all aspects of your life.
How do you actually get started on the path of daily exercise?
Keep it simple and take it one day at a time. Just like anything in life, momentum takes a bit of time to get going, but once it does, then the good habit of daily exercise form and your life will show noticeable differences – in a positive way.
Those ridiculous bad habits that once ruled your world, will become a thing of the past.
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