Welcome to the Healthy Habit Hacks blog series! We’re here to help turn your healthy intentions into habits. Each month we’ll share an article with tips on how to move from wishing to doing.
The April Healthy Habit Hack: Find your joy!
In guiding you to turn intentions into habits, we’ve discussed how to: Start where you are, Track your actions and Break goals into small steps. This month we encourage you to Find your joy! to help you start and stick to either healthy habits or break bad ones. It doesn’t have to be a “cartwheels and back flips” kind of joy – although that is certainly welcome – but finding joy can be as simple as observing moments and doing “the little things” that make you smile and keep you engaged.
Before taking this hack and applying it to your specific health goal, you may want to take a moment to reflect on what joy means to you. For some it may mean cartwheeling unabashed enjoyment while for others it may mean engaging in something that gives you purpose. Feeling peaceful and calm is often associated with joy and may be found when you’re mindful of the present moment, recognize goodness or beauty, cultivate your sense of wonder, or hold feelings of gratitude and hope. With this in mind, think about how joy can ignite and fuel you in achieving your goals.
Are you building a healthy habit?
If you’re working on building a healthy habit, we have some example hacks to put you on a happy path.
- When you enjoy exercise, you’re more likely to stick with it. Try to add music to your routine, workout with a friend, or take up a sport you like. Another way to keep it fun is through socializing – join our Vitality Virtual Training Club group, if you please.
- Challenge yourself to learn and grow when building better eating habits. Learning new things can provide joy. Teach yourself new skills in preparing a healthy breakfast like a smoothie or an egg white scramble. Buy a new heart healthy cookbook and try a new recipe each week.
- Want to build better sleep habits? Give your bedroom a makeover that makes you smile whenever you enter the room and you’re sure to have more peaceful slumbers.
- Reward yourself when working toward any health habit by engaging in Vitality’s exciting incentives that keep you coming back for more.
- Keep your exercise routine from getting stale and make it fresh and fun by bringing out your competitive side. Many people find joy in training for a race or participating in a sport that offers friendly competition.
- Need a way to stick to your budget? Meeting a personal goal can be satisfying. Just for fun, challenge yourself to stay on budget every week.
- Looking for fun ways to stay on task with your mental health goals? Make a game of it and try our Mental Well-being BINGO Card.
Are you breaking a bad habit?
If you’re working on breaking a bad habit, here are some tips on how to use joy to your advantage.
- Trying to break the worry habit? When you fill your mind with happy thoughts, you won’t have as much room for anxious ones to hold you back. Generate these happy thoughts by jotting down at least one joyful observation or event that happens to you every day.
- Are you cutting back on sugar? One easy and joyful way to do that is replace dessert or soda with a healthy version. A baked apple with cinnamon, or water infused with strawberries can satisfy that sweet tooth and bring a smile to your day, without the added sugar.
- People who are trying to cut back on smoking cigarettes may find joy in a hobby that keeps the hands busy, instead of holding a cigarette, like needlework or woodworking.
- Many people find it challenging to limit their drinking because the activities they do while drinking are enjoyable socially or help them in escaping from the daily grind. Swap them out with equally fun activities like going to the movies or theatre instead of the pub; or joining a dance class with friends, rather than dancing and drinking at the nightclub. Swap a weekend of partying with the guys or gals with a different exhilarating adventure like snow skiing, mountain climbing or glamping, without the drinking.
If you don’t do this already, give it a try and see how adding joy can help you reach your health goals and turn them into habits.