Making or breaking habits for a healthier lifestyle

Published 9:49 am Thursday, October 1, 2015

I think we can all admit to a few bad habits we would like to break (i.e. smoking, chewing your nails, staying up late, unhealthy eating etc.).

Contrastingly, there are probably a few we could stand to incorporate into our lives (eating healthy, getting enough sleep, being on time etc.).

Whether you are trying to make a good one or break a bad one, I encourage you start with a road map — one with plenty of room for road blocks, detours and construction zones — because it will be a challenging journey.

The thing to keep in mind is that anything worth anything at all is worth the bumps in the road.

Really dig deep down to spark emotion and passion for wanting this change. Ask yourself some of these important questions:Why do I want this change? Why is this so important to me? What advantages will I gain once I’ve made this change?

You have to be the one to make that final choice as to whether or not you’re going to follow through or just continue thinking about it. When you’re ready to commit is when your mission begins. Your transition to a healthier you comes struggles, barriers, failing moments and frustrations, but also excitement, pride, happiness and celebration.

Psychology research shows it takes approximately 18 to 21 days to make or break a habit. Just because research shows the average person takes that amount of time does not mean that is how long it will take you.

I encourage you to stick it out and be extra kind and understanding to yourself through the process until you’ve reached your destination. Be patient with yourself and the change. Remind yourself often of why you started in the first place and take yourself back to that emotional and vulnerable time. Share your goals with friends, family and co-workers to gain additional support and accountability. This will play a huge role in your success.

A really good tactic is to condition yourself through your process. Replace the bad habit with a better habit to train or condition your mind to adopt the new habit and forget the old. Also reward yourself periodically to celebrate your milestones. If you continue to struggle with a habit that is affecting your life and/or threatening your health I encourage you to seek help from a professional.

Never give up, and in trying times, ask yourself those important questions again. Remind yourself of why you started and bring yourself back to the vulnerable time where you do not want to return.

Best wishes to you. I am on your team!


Lacey Peters is a fitness instructor at the Niles-Buchanan YMCA, as well as a life coach and overall fitness enthusiast. Above all, she believes in optimal well-being and life balance. She can be reached at