At the core, we all understand what we need to do to be healthier. We need to eat healthy, nutrient-dense foods. We need to exercise regularly. We need to avoid unhealthy habits like smoking and drinking to excess. But why then, do so many of us struggle to do the right things in our lives on a daily basis? Do we lack willpower or knowledge or tools or time?
Ultimately, living a healthy lifestyle comes down to instilling healthy habits. Building habit is different than having to use willpower everytime you need to avoid the cookie or get to the gym. It’s about recognizing the cues for behavior and adjusting the cue or the behavior — until the new healthy behavior is the norm.
Once you are able to understand how to instill habits, living a healthy lifestyle becomes just that — a habit.
Here’s some brain hacks that help you gain some lasing healthy habits.
Real Life Brain Hacks for Lasting Healthy Habits
Find positive reinforcement or rewards.
As much as we love to go to the gym and “punish” ourselves, this kind of mindset doesn’t tend to work in the long term. Research has shown that positive reinforcement is far more successful in obtaining change than punishment. According to the leading scientist in this field, B.F. Skinner, in order to inspire a behavior there has to be some kind of reward to enforce continuation of the behavior. And punishment only tells a person what NOT to do, rather than creating a new habit.
To implement this in your life, consider the positive rewards you get from the healthy habit. Perhaps, that 10 minute walk everyday is an opportunity to listen to an audiobook you haven’t had time to fit in elsewhere. Pack an OGX FENIX™ Nutritional Shake for work every day? You are saving all that money by skipping unhealthy and expensive takeout. The positive reinforcement may already be part of the healthy habit — you just have to focus on it.
We’re all familiar with the New Year’s Resolution cycle. It’s the beginning of the year, you’re motivated to get healthy — so you join a gym, start a new diet, and commit to being 100% healthy, all day every day, forever. And then by Feb you have “failed.” But it might not be you that has failed, but rather the plan you made.
Starting small with easily achievable goals has a few benefits:
- It’s easy to start with small goals. Doing just two pushups, meditating for 5 minutes, swapping one fast food meal for an OGX FENIX™ Nutritional Shake, etc are all easy to achieve.
- It’s build momentum. Once you have established the habit itself, you have already made a huge accomplishment. From there, you can gradually increase intensity or add on another related habit. And the best part, you KNOW you can do it because you have already succeeded!
- You have a sense of accomplishment. That feeling of failure sucks. You WANT to be healthy. You WANT to stick to your diet. By setting tiny goals first, you win. Then you can continue to use that confidence in your ability to change habits to drive more positive change.
Develop a “Better than Nothing” Workout.
Whenever faced with the reason they don’t exercise regularly, the majority of people will answer with some form of “I don’t have time.” While it might legitimately be a reason for many people, the truth is we could all find SOME time to workout during the day. This is where having a “Better than Nothing” workout can significantly improve your physical fitness.
In general, it is better to workout for 5 minutes everyday, consistently, than to do it for 2 hours sporadically (once a week, once every two weeks, once a month, never, etc). Try finding a quick 5-10 minute routine that you can do every day at the same time. Maybe it’s right before you get in the shower, before you eat lunch, or while dinner is in the oven — whatever works for your schedule. Doing this every day is “better than nothing” and you might be surprised at the serious benefits a regular routine has in your physical fitness.
Want to maximize those 5 minutes? Try a tabata or high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE) for your “better than nothing” workout. This involves doing something high-intensity (burpees, high-knees, sprints, etc) for a short period (usually around 20 seconds) with a short rest (10 seconds in this example) and then repeating back to back. In one 15-week study of women, half the group was assigned to do steady state cardio workouts for one hour, 5 times a week. The other half we assigned to do a 4 minute HIIE workout, five days a week. Both groups showed significant cardiovascular health improvements — while the HIIEE group actually surpassed the steady state group in fat loss and insulin levels.
If you are ready to start making real changes that lead to lasting healthy habits, ORGANO™ can help. The line of convenient, portable products and helpful guidelines can start you on the right path to consistent healthy habits.
Founded in 2008 as Organo Gold, ORGANO™ is dedicated to bringing the benefits of the earth’s nutritional riches to people throughout the world via its premium products that can be used daily to help to achieve a more energetic and healthier lifestyle.