How to Build Healthy Habits

By Danielle Cosgrove
Posted in Africa Yoga Project Blog, on October 27, 2020

What will it take to make you become the best version of yourself? Picture this, you get up everyday, work out like you’ve always wanted, drink those glasses of water that you’ve always wished and do the work it takes to become this version. And even on the days that you don’t manage to stick to your routine, you don’t beat yourself up about it too much. You simply acknowledge that it happens and you get back to it as soon as possible. How can you turn this vision into a reality?

At AYP, we share a similar vision. A vision where individuals are inspired to create and keep healthy habits making wellbeing a way of life. We need YOU to join us and turn this vision into a reality. Here’s 6 tips on how to build healthy habits and help us realize this vision, together.

1. Win the small wars within yourself. 

Every time we begin something new, we are stepping out of our comfort zone. Ideally, it's our brain that battles this new beginning because stepping into unknown territory presents a threat to your comfort and the brain will do anything to keep you safe & secure in order for you to survive. The important takeaway here is that we can take advantage of this feature to hack our brains and develop a new comfort zone. Every time you ignore the thoughts of “ I can’t ” , “I won’t” or “I don’t want to” and do it anyway, you are conditioning your brain into believing that this action is important and thus necessary for your survival. With time, the action will become so much a part of you, that the brain will change sides and will battle to keep you doing this activity. 

 

 

  

2. Tie the habit to something else that is important to you.

 Think of any activity that is involved in your daily routine and tie it to the habit that you want to create. It can be a given time period, an entertaining action such as watching a movie or social interaction such as talking to a loved one. For example, you can state that every day, you are not going to call your friends/family until you have accomplished the habit. This will motivate you to do the habit anyway because it is connected to something else that you value and doing the work will make you feel that much more deserving of a reward. 

3. Include an act of kindness and service to others as part of your habits.

Helping others creates a sense of purpose and satisfaction in ourselves and inspires others around us to do the same. Including acts of kindness in your daily habits not only empowers you and those around you, but the resulting feeling of happiness from being of service reinforces our motivation to stay the path. 

4. Focus on progress, not perfection. 

 We are human beings, and all emotions and feelings are part of the human experience, whether we want to feel them or not. There will be days when you feel unmotivated, sad, tired, frustrated or just plain disinterested. Do not beat yourself up about it. Acknowledge the feeling, acknowledge that you have strayed temporarily from the habit and get back to doing it as soon as you can. Remove the word ‘failure’ from your vocabulary and think of every experience as a lesson rather than a failure.

Think of a baby learning to walk, if it falls and says “I have failed”  then it will never learn to walk. I conclude this point with a quote from Thomas Edison, “I’ve not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

 5. Be patient.

Anything worth having is worth working for. Oftentimes we get deeply motivated to do something because we are looking at a successful image of the final product without any idea of what it took to get there. Having a well toned body is great, but we suddenly lose the morale to get it when we realize it involves strong commitment, sweating and stretching yourself beyond your usual limits. Be patient. Realize that you will value something so much more if you had to put in the work to attain it and nobody ever started their success story with the words “I started out with everything…” 

 6. Find a partner or team to build the habit with. 

Humans are social beings and we work better when we have the support of people who are in pursuit of the same goals as our own. Having a team not only motivates you more, but gives you the chance to share, connect and be held accountable to your words and actions. 

 In conclusion, building a habit takes time, work and dedication. We may not have all the answers to what it takes to build healthy habits, but as a family, we at AYP are committed to finding out how to create and sustain these healthy habits, not just for ourselves, but for the sake of a world where wellbeing is a way of life. 

Join our second 10 day Sweat. Serve. Share challenge and let’s find out together. Sign up here: 


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Africa Yoga Project Educates, Empowers, Elevates and Expands Employability with youth in Africa using the transformational practice of yoga. Our vision is to create opportunities for youth to step into their greatness and become self-sustaining leaders in their communities.

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