Plan to be happier, healthier

by Ruth Griffiths

Most of us live our lives on autopilot. We have a series of habits that get us through the day without too many decisions. But some of our habits are unhealthy.

You may have chosen to change a habit that doesn’t contribute to your health and happiness. The first step to changing a habit is making a plan.

Pick just one habit to change. Many people fail at their New Year’s resolutions because they tackle too much change at a time.
Start small. The smaller the better, because habit change is difficult, and trying to take on too much is a recipe for disaster. If your goal is to exercise 30 minutes each day, you can do it 10 minutes at a time. Don’t wait to go to the gym. Build the exercise into your everyday activities. Park the car at the far end of the lot and push your groceries through the snow for a great workout.

Put it on paper. Just saying you’re going to change the habit is not enough of a commitment. You need to actually write it down, on paper. Post that paper on your fridge door.

Make a plan to achieve your goal. Include your reasons for changing, the obstacles you might face and how you will overcome them. List people who will help you achieve your plan.

Pick a healthier habit to replace the habit you are trying to change. If you want to cut out snacking while you watch TV, what are you going to do instead of eating. Maybe you could drink herbal tea or chew gum.

Go public. Tell everyone about your plan. Post it on Facebook. Make this your Big Day. It builds up anticipation and excitement and helps you to prepare.

Telling other people about your plan will encourage you to stick to your plan and allow them to support you in your desire to become a healthier you.