5 Tips to Breaking Bad Health Habits

tips to break bad health habits

Whether it's binge-watching Netflix instead of taking advantage of getting outside or devouring entire bags of chips because you realized you were mindlessly eating again, we all have areas of life that could use a tune-up.

Undoubtedly, as a person planning to earn a health care degree, you will be held to a higher standard of health care in your personal life.

How can you get started on celebrating those little victories and get back on track? Here are some strategies to breaking bad health habits:

Say "I don't...," not "I can't..."

Words make a difference. This study discovered that when people told themselves "I don't do X" rather than "I can't do X" they empowered themselves to make better choices.  Better yet, these strategies seem to work over the long haul. So tell give yourself healthy messages like:

  • I don't eat junk food.
  • I don't miss my gym class.
  • I don't eat past feeling full.
  • I don't miss a healthy amount of sleep.

Be mindful

Having a habit means you tend to do it without thinking about it. So one of the first strategies for breaking a habit is to pay attention to what you are doing and how you feel about it.

According to psychology research, when we act mindfully and really focus on the bad part of a behavior, we are more effective at being able to get rid of a bad habit, even one as addictive as smoking.

Get a little help from a friend

Remember when you were on a team in high school? You showed up to practices because your team depended on you. Accountability can be a great help in breaking bad habits.

In fact, if you can convince your partner or friend to join you, that can be even better. Couples breaking habits together have higher success rates. Try these ideas:

  • Get a workout partner and set a schedule.
  • Agree with study partner on stopping time to get good sleep.
  • Ask a friend to text you every day about your healthy choices.
  • Make an appointment to find a personal trainer.

Set goals with passwords

One of the most important things you need to do in order to make a change is to set a goal.  A creative way to reinforce those goals daily is to put those goals in your passwords.

Especially if you have to regularly change a password, you can use that to help you set a new goal. Here are some examples:

  • Sleep@before11
  • NoDessert2day
  • No@alcohol
  • Quit@nailbiting
  • 5Fruit&Veggies

Create healthy environments

Want to eat more fruits and vegetables to give you energy for your health care degree classes?  Make sure you cut them up and put them in them in the fridge right after coming home from the store, and set some on the table to eat as you go by. Other tips for using environment to help healthy eating:

  • Serve on a salad plate to cut food eating by over 20%.
  • Have a clean kitchen to reduce snack food eating by 40%
  • Eat 70% more fruit by having a fruit bowl sitting on a counter.

Mastering these strategies to breaking bad health habits will not only improve your own health but become a great tool for you after you fish your health care degree and begin helping patients.

What about you? What strategies have you found work well? Share with us in the comment section below!

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