There are times when we want to make healthy changes in our lives. While we start with good intentions, that’s not enough to make those new habits stick. Fortunately, there are other things you can do to ensure that those lifestyle changes actually become habits rather than wishful thinking.
Stop Seeing Things in Black and White
One of the well-known cognitive distortions is all-or-nothing thinking. This is when you set yourself a goal, but the minute that you make a mistake, you completely throw in the towel. Anyone who has accomplished a goal knows that this kind of black-and-white approach is doomed to fail. The path from where you are now to where you want to be is full of slip-ups and gray areas, and that’s okay. Rather than trying to overhaul every aspect of your life, focus on one area. If you want to be more active, try taking a 10-minute walk every day rather than saying you’ll commit to one-hour workouts every morning.
Small Steps Add up
Along the same lines, you want to remember that small actions do add up to significant changes. Consider that you didn’t get out of shape overnight, so why would your fitness level improve after a few days of exercise? Instead of focusing on how you’re progressing more slowly than you expected, think about the small changes you’ve committed to in the past week. Maybe you started taking the stairs or parking further away from your work building. Perhaps you’re meeting up with friends for an evening stroll rather than indulging in a cocktail together.
Remember That it Takes Time
Some say that it takes 30 days to build a habit. Others say it’s more, others say it’s less, but it doesn’t matter. The thing is, you need to be patient with the process and yourself. Over time, you’ll start to notice that the changes you struggled to make have solidified into habits that you don’t even have to think about anymore.