From stress to success: 3 easy habits for better health
Habits can make or break us. Sure, you can build a habit – but the truth is that habits themselves are the building blocks of our actions, the consequences of our thoughts and the catalysts for any change in our lives.
Don't believe a simple shift in habits can change your entire paradigm? Think your bid to improve productivity is just a shot in the dark?
Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl says that we, as humans, have the power to choose our response at all times. From a young age, the ways in which we are taught to think affect our very perception of our reality, inform our sense of self and consciously and unconsciously tell us what we can and can't do.
This is both an incredibly freeing idea and an incredibly scary one. It means we must take ownership and responsibility for what we choose to think, say, and then do. But it can be "freeing" in the deepest sense because it means it's never too late to change things around. If affecting a habit — which is, really, at its core, a simple practice we do over and over again until it is crystallized into a way of being — means bringing the change we want to see in our lives, it's worth addressing, isn't it?
Of course, when you build a habit, you want it to be one that will promote your overall well-being and success in the world. Right? These are things as simple as drinking more water every day or taking your mix of personalized vitamins in the morning with breakfast.
Our team of Nutritionists believe that lasting results come from everyday action. This is why we go the extra mile to support you through chat and a 1:1 monthly consultation calls to answer any questions you may have and monitor your progress. We’ve seen with our own eyes that personalized vitamins help you achieve health goals, but consistent support from our team of experts can really help you go above and beyond.
Whatever your definition of healthy habits looks like, use our tips to start making positive changes. Stop procrastinating, improve productivity, experience more success and entirely shift your reality when you build a habit using these steps.
The "neurology" of habits is an interesting one. They emerge, over time, through associative learning. When people think about changing their lives by changing their habits, they're often overwhelmed.
And that's because we learn through identifying and enacting patterns of behavior. To begin to unravel these interconnected patterns and situate ourselves outside of our habits can be destabilizing — not to mention too amorphous, at times, to really manage. So the best thing to do is to start small. James Clear calls this a commitment to creating 1% change every single day.
Now, this "one percent" could really look like anything. It could look like one extra rep on the squat rack. It could look like one extra minute spent meditating or breathing. It could look like drinking an extra glass of water in the morning with your personalized vitamins.
Whichever area you're aiming for improvement, commit yourself to just a 1% change, every single day. Over time, argues Clear, this leads to change because you're stacking an incremental change on another incremental change, without giving your body time to adapt or get used to this "new" behavior.
Choosing to add in triggers is a great way to do any sort of habit-building. It's particularly effective for when you'd like to stop procrastinating.
How does it work?
Triggers are a mechanism that get, well, triggered when a particularly unsavory behavior comes to light. When you're using them in the context of habit-building, however, triggers can help you remember your commitment, connect you to a reward (lighting up the pleasure centers in your brain) or warn you of an incoming consequence. The best part is that you get to decide what these triggers are and what they mean.
Here's how it works. Let's say, for example, that you've decided you're going to go running every morning. You've also observed that you go to bed pumped to keep your promise but you end up talking yourself out of it the next morning. A trigger could be something like, "When my alarm rings, I'll wake up and mentally speak a list of five things I'm grateful for."
A trigger could even be something as simple as a countdown. Mel Robbins calls her trigger the "Five Second Rule." She counts down, systematically, from five, saying, "five, four, three, two, one." When she hits one, she knows she's instantly poised to do that action — whether it's leaping out of bed or making a decision on what to eat for lunch.
The point, for her, is to stop procrastinating on taking the next action. When you can make quick decisions, this also helps improve productivity.
Get Clear On Your Goals
The next — and best — thing you can do for your daily life, in terms of habit-building, is to get crystal clear on what your goals are.
Now, a word on goals: People think that goals are big, huge, "crush it!" type mountains you must decide to climb. But that is literally the fastest way to either burn out or lose steam before you ever even make the proverbial climb. No, the nature of goals is that they can (and should) be small, manageable, and, most of all, achievable. They can be the simplest of things like "Wake up 2 hours earlier than right now."
However, the caveat to small goals is this: Make them small but then hook them in to your larger vision. In other words, you need to ask yourself, "How does the goal of waking up two hours early move me forward with my overall vision of life? When I build this habit, what do I stand to gain? And why does that matter to me?"
What ancient Eastern medicine and philosophy has been espousing for hundreds of years is only now being testing in a clinical setting by scientists in universities or organizations such as the HeartMath Institute.
Meditation is one of the best (and proven!) ways to auto-control the body's stress responses. Depending on the kind of breathing and meditation practice you take up — for example, transcendental meditation versus a 6-phase meditation — you can do so much for your body-mind connection. You can drop into your most creative states, improve productive and focus through a busy day, and alleviate stress and inflammation.
But there's something else that quiet meditation allows you: Time to reflect, review and audit yourself.
Meditation, characterized by breathing techniques and exercises, can certainly do wonders for the physical and mental body.
But once you've worked through these exercises, the still, empty mind is the perfect vantage point from which to review the progress of your habits, the points of improvements, and any self-limiting beliefs or behaviors that are stopping you from going all the way.
When you build a habit, there's one other key component you'll need to consider: Are you merely "interested" in it or are you committed to it?
There's a vast chasm between the two and commitment means that you'll do whatever it takes to make that 1% progress each and every single day. We want to help you stick with your healthy vitamin routine, which is why we’ve designed our personalized vitamins in daily packs so you can travel with them or bring them to the office.
Researchers say that it takes, on average, 21 days for a habit to "stick." But, in truth, it takes more like 90 days. Why? Because, in the fast-paced world we live in and the busy lives we live out, there are so many distractions pulling our attention in several different directions.
Commitment means consistency, certainly, but it also calls for conscious focus — that is, until these newfound healthy habits become an unconscious and automatic practice in your life. Until then, choose to reach for your goals, one day at a time. What’s holding you back from your best health? Start with our 5 minute holistic consultation quiz to discover your unique mix of personalized vitamins.
Neal, D., Wood, W., Labrecque, J. and Lally, P. (2012). How do habits guide behavior? Perceived and actual triggers of habits in daily life. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, [online] 48(2), pp.492-498.