One of the biggest obstacles to a healthy lifestyle for many people is a lack of time, either perceived or legitimate. Even for the busiest among us, though, there will always be at least a few minutes during the day where you can spend time focusing on healthy habits. Here are some tactics for fitting in those good health habits, plus some tips for making these habits really stick.
- 1 Practice Time Management
Simply documenting your day can make a huge difference when helping you manage your time. Consider keeping a journal for a few days and write down what you do and when you do it as the day moves along. After a couple days, evaluate your progress. Are you surprised by anything, or were you able to find any periods where your time isn’t being managed well? Are there chunks of time you could devote to being more healthy?
If these fixes aren’t immediately obvious to you, here are a few additional questions to ask:
- What tasks take longer than they should?
- Do I push priorities like health aside to do things that are less important?
- What am I doing that someone else should be doing? What can I say no to within my day?
- 2 Make To-Do Lists
To-do lists can be valuable tools for managing the day and the stressors that come with it. However, some of us tend to overestimate what we’re capable of in a day, loading up a to-do list too heavily. If you frequently find your day too packed, consider shortening your list—pretend you have only about 80 percent of the time you would usually allot.
In addition, it’s important to set clear priorities. Make an initial list, then edit it down to the top few items—make sure you include your health goals among your top priorities and move the less important tasks to another day.
- 3 Get Focused
Focus on the completion of tasks, not necessarily the absolute perfection of them—especially if perfection requires unreasonable amounts of time. Don’t spend hours on a single task that won’t really make much difference in the end. A focus on completion rather than perfection frees more time for healthy habits.
- 4 Adjust Your Sleep Habits
Missing out on sleep damages your decision-making abilities and makes you more likely to binge-eat and less likely to exercise, both significant detriments to health. Sleeping at least seven hours per night leads to better and longer workouts, and it can help improve other factors like memory, coordination and mood.
Evaluate your nighttime habits and try not to watch TV or surf the web late at night. Consider ways to replace screen time with time for sleep. This will allow you to rise earlier and get things done in the morning, before the full demands of the day start piling up.
Making Habits Stick
It’s great to focus on healthy habits, but many people struggle making them stick long term. Here are some tips:
- • Have a healthy approach: Many people take an all-or-nothing approach to healthy habits, trying to make huge changes all at once. This is likely to lead to disappointment. Instead, start with small tasks and build out from there.
- • Be opportunistic: Look for opportunities to change health habits. Take the stairs over the elevator, for instance, or walk to that store near your home rather than drive.
- • Be patient: Track your changes in a journal, and remember that it might take a while to see real results. Focus on behaviors that help you achieve goals, not just the final results themselves.
Your doctor can offer additional tips how to establish healthy habits and stick to them.
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“5 Ways to Make Time for Healthy Habits.” WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/making-time-for-healthy-lifestyle#1
“3 ways to make healthy habits stick.” The Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/make-healthy-habits-stick/art-20270175