This month’s Healthy Habit Hack: Call on support
Welcome back to the Healthy Habit Hacks blog series! We’re here to help turn your healthy intentions into habits. This month we’ll talk about reaching out for support when changing health habits.
Asking for help doesn’t come easy to many people but most of us would probably agree that when we do reach out and seek support, we gain valuable knowledge and confidence, and the result is much better than if we had gone it alone.
Forming a healthy habit
Starting a healthy habit is often personal and emotional and thus, justifies the need for emotional support and encouragement. In fact, research shows emotional support is especially helpful when trying to achieve healthy habits. Nothing rings truer than when you hear an “attaboy” upon logging your first 7-minute workout, yoga class, 5-mile cycle ride or reveal the secret to your delicious healthy breakfast recipe to your friends. But sometimes it can be difficult to reach out and be open with others when discussing your personal goals. Instead of overtly asking for help, maybe offering to support someone you know could be a first step. Find a friend who you think may also share your goals and say, for example, “I’m working on eating better, would you like to join me?” That way you can encourage one another. You may also find encouragement and emotional support through a wellness app like Vitality, or a health coach or support group.
Lean on others for support
Research also shows that making healthy lifestyle choices is easier when you feel connected to the people around you. Sometimes this means finding someone to talk to while working out, or someone to cheer you on when you fall short of your goals or things get tough. Again, finding a companion or a group of people who will be by your side when forming that healthy habit can be very helpful. They keep you accountable and can offer validation, a word of encouragement or even practical resources. If you’re embarking on an exercise goal, consider joining a walking club, a Meet Up, a training group, sports club, or gym for the comradery. When you have a shared interest with others, it makes it much easier to reach out and ask them for help along the way. Join our Vitality Virtual Training Club on Facebook and find other Vitality members with similar goals who you can lean on.
Breaking a bad habit
Seeking support from others is important when breaking a bad habit too. Often, it’s the practical resources that you may find extra helpful. Connecting with someone to provide you a ride to the gym or their gently used sports or recreation equipment to help you stick with your physical activity goals, are good examples.
You may also want to seek mental and healthcare resources when breaking a bad habit. When cutting back on alcohol or cigarettes a counselor or healthcare provider can provide support. Reach out to our doctor, a faith-based leader, or a community support group to find the right mental well-being help for you. Or for example, a pharmacist can direct you to healthcare resources and help you find a smoking cessation aid that is right for you, like the patch or gum.
When seeking mental therapy or other health care, do your homework first. Consider looking for a licensed psychologist for therapy or counseling to support you in breaking bad habits and reaching health goals. Refer to healthgrades.com or other reputable sources that provide reviews to assure that you’re finding a quality healthcare provider. Healthgrades is a site that provides these types of reviews – look for a provider that has the appropriate state and national licensures and certifications, and stellar patient satisfaction scores. Finally, benefits providers like health insurance and EAP are excellent sources of information and can link you to care providers.
In short, when forming healthy habits, it’s best to lean on professionals, friends, family – and Vitality! You can do it!
As a reminder, we’ve shared these monthly hacks so far this year: