What you will learn from this article:
- How to create lasting healthy habits
- The best way to start living proactively
- How identifying your outcome and rating your experiences can lead to incredible growth
- That you can create the conditions you need to achieve success, regardless of external factors
- The Quality Quantifier, an urge management tool
Why do we engage in habits, urges and tendencies that we know do not serve us? What makes it so difficult to make real, lasting change?
Most people settle for whatever life gives them, and then they make excuses for why they can’t get the results they desire. But why choose complacency when there is a way to increase and enhance the quality of your life?
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Harness the power of healthy habits
The reason many of us do not achieve the goals we set for ourselves is because we have either not established the healthy habits to do so or because we’ve adopted unhealthy habits that get in the way. A habit is an acquired behavior pattern that you follow so regularly that it becomes almost involuntary. The reason habits are so powerful is because they happen subconsciously and your environment is usually arranged in a way to support that habit.
A habit is not an isolated action – there is a cue that you follow to engage in the habit. This means that you can craft the cue and arrange your environment to eliminate bad habits and incorporate healthy lifestyle habits that lead to success and fulfillment.
There are a number of healthy lifestyle habits that lead to less pain and inflammation, more energy and a longer lifespan. Keep in mind that a healthy lifestyle is not just physical – it also incorporates your mental and emotional health. Though they may take some time to develop, they are well worth the effort as your quality of life is largely dependent on your health.
1. Eating a sustainable health diet
Eating a sustainable diet is one of the most essential healthy habits. Eliminate sugars, caffeine and flour-based products like pasta and bread. Introduce high-quality fats like olive oil and avocados. Eat plenty of leafy green vegetables and citrus fruits. Turn to seafood, poultry and eggs for protein. Make permanent changes in your diet through small steps, like always eating salad for lunch or forgoing your evening glass of wine. You’ll see long-lasting changes fad diets just can’t achieve.
2. Doing something physically active every day
Exercise is the second pillar of healthy lifestyle habits. The benefits of exercise are endless: a stronger heart, increased bone density and muscle mass, better balance, a sharper mind, elevated mood, lowered stress – the list goes on. You don’t have to be a marathon runner – a brisk, 30-minute walk five times a week is all it takes to start seeing the benefits of exercise. Still sounds overwhelming? Do something physically active every day – yard work, housework, walking the dog – and work your way up. Exercise will soon become a daily healthy habit.
3. Getting at least seven hours of quality sleep per night
Don’t get enough sleep? You’re not alone. According to the CDC, one in three Americans doesn’t get enough sleep, which is qualified as seven or more hours per night. But sleep is just as vital to the body as healthy habits like eating well and exercising. The body uses deep REM sleep to repair cells and return its functions to a baseline. That’s why getting enough sleep is linked with better mood, concentration, memory and more. Don’t skimp on sleep. Achieving your goals depends on it.
4. Finding effective ways to manage stress
Stress harms the body and the mind in very real ways. When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol, the “fight or flight” hormone, which over the long term can lead to weight gain, decreased focus and even a lowered immune system. Incorporating healthy habits like meditation, visualization and practicing gratitude will help you manage stress and avoid its negative effects. Bonus: You’ll feel more fulfilled and able to reach your peak state.
5. Reconnecting with yourself on a regular basis
The average, full-time American employee works 47 hours per week – and many people say they work 50 hours or more. Combine that with time spent on kids’ activities, reconnecting with your significant other or volunteer work, and it’s easy to forget to reconnect with ourselves. When was the last time you did something you truly enjoy, danced by yourself in the kitchen or reflected on what you appreciate about your life? These are often overlooked healthy habits that are crucial to happiness.
6. Developing deep and supportive relationships
Healthy lifestyle habits are about more than your physical body. Connecting with others is also an important part of living a healthy lifestyle. Humans are some of the most social animals on the planet – we need relationships in order to live a fulfilling life. But not just any relationships: Deep, loving and supportive relationships can actually improve health, increase lifespan and lower your risk of depression. Stick to Tony’s healthy relationship rules and get all the benefits of a loving partnership.
How to develop healthy lifestyle habits
It’s easy to talk about healthy lifestyle habits. It’s a lot harder to go for a jog after a long day of work or get up early to make time for your morning ritual. But whether it’s finding a way to kick bad habits like smoking, drugs or alcohol; creating healthy habits like eating right and exercising; reigniting more passion in your relationship or taking massive action along your career path, Tony has developed a powerful tool you can use: the Quality Quantifier can help you in creating healthy habits and achieving lasting change in your life.
If you want a quality life, then you have to start by quantifying what you want out of life so you can develop the healthy habits that support it. If you don’t decide in advance to have a level 10 experience, then you aren’t going to get one. Think about it: What’s your chance of having the most optimal experience without you designing it in advance? Highly unlikely. Sure, you may get lucky, but if you want consistent quality in your life, then you have to decide what outcome you want.
This tool, the Quality Quantifier, is also a powerful urge management tool. Because when you understand how to change the level of urgency in your body, you can shift away from your desire for things that you know are bad for you, and instill a new desire for healthy habits. Whether it’s stopping smoking, consuming alcohol or drugs, losing weight, working out more or taking your relationship to the next level, the Quality Quantifier can empower you in an entirely new way to reach your goals. With these steps, you can take back control over your life and start creating healthy habits today.
Decide to live proactively
How do you approach life? Do you live passively or proactively? Consider this example. John has decided to get some exercise and take a three-mile run. It’s a healthy decision that serves his mind, body and soul. He heads out for 30 minutes, gets his run in and heads back. He thinks to himself, “Well, that felt nice.” The way John approaches the run is the way that 99% of people out there approach healthy habits and everything else in life. They do things, maybe hoping for certain results, and see what happens.
The other 1% – the leaders in this world – they approach life differently. They live life proactively. Consider Julie. Julie thinks to herself, “I want to take a run. And on a scale of 0 to 10, I want it to be a level 10 run.” Then she thinks, “What do I need to achieve that?” By envisioning the result she wants in advance, Julie takes control over the outcome. She isn’t taking a passive approach to life, just hoping it will happen or expecting it to happen. She is regaining control and taking a proactive approach to achieving her goals. You can do this, too.
Quantify your goals
The first step is to ask yourself where you are right now. Because wherever you are, you can change that by creating healthy habits. If you are sitting on the couch and feeling tired, a run may not sound that appealing. Maybe you give it a 3 on a scale of a 0 to 10. Be honest with yourself. The idea is to create a benchmark that will help you determine how to create long-lasting, healthy habits.
Now, visualize where you want to be in comparison. What does a 10 out of 10 run look like? If you’re living proactively like Julie, you’ll not only envision your workout, but all the other benefits you’ll get from going on this run. Your mood will improve. You’ll have more energy to play with your kids or grandkids. Imagine how great you’ll feel after this run. See yourself running by everyone in your path effortlessly, beating your old time by several seconds. Quantify your goal – a 10 – and begin to understand what this new healthy lifestyle habit looks like.
Qualify objects and experiences
What would it take to make an object or experience irresistible? What would it take to make an object or experience something you couldn’t stand? Consider your run. How appealing is that run? A 5, a 7 or a 10? Now, what would you have to focus on for it to be a 10? Would you have to run at dusk when you find the temperature and lighting more appealing? Would you have to run with a friend? Would you have to laugh three times, just thinking of something that cracks you up? Consider what conditions you need to create for yourself to make healthy lifestyle habits permanent rather than temporary.
Ask yourself what you would have to appreciate, believe, feel and focus on to achieve a level 10 run. Emotions are tied to actions and the healthy habits we develop based on those actions. The goal is to change the emotion you tie to objects and experiences – and therefore change your actions. Remember, where focus goes, energy flows, so focus on things within your own control. If you say that to have a level 10 run it can’t rain, that is not in your control. But if you say, “I have to stop during the run and enjoy my surroundings,” then you are taking direct control of your outcome.
Create what works for you
Quantifying and qualifying what is important to you comes down to creating your version of a fulfilling life. To do this, you have to look beyond your surface-level objective. Yes, you want to quit smoking, sleep more, develop healthier relationships or move ahead in your career, but why? It’s not just because you do or don’t want to do these things, it’s about identifying your outcome and moving toward that end goal. Then you’ll be able to focus on creating healthy habits accordingly.
Once you commit to your outcome, you’ll find the drive you need to take action, which will result in healthier habits overall. Use what you know about quantifying and qualifying to create the conditions you need to succeed. To get to that level 10 run, you’ll need to ensure that you get enough sleep so that you have the energy to work out. You’ll need to run at the time of day that appeals to your natural inner clock. You’ll need to have that perfect playlist queued up.
Introduce healthy habits the right way
We’ve all been tempted to make multiple massive changes in our lives at the same time. Instead of focusing on eating healthier, you vow to eat healthier, stop smoking, train for a marathon and replace your evening glass of wine with a paleo tropical smoothie. However, this rarely works. When you try to do too much, you lose focus and ultimately end up feeling deprived. Instead of creating a bunch of new healthy habits, you don’t sustain even one. Try to focus on one healthy habit at a time. Once that becomes part of your routine, then you can focus on the next one.
Part of creating healthy habits is setting the right environment – including the people in it. If you vow to eat healthier but your partner continues to cook chicken fried steak and burgers for every meal, you are setting yourself up for failure. Encourage your family and close friends to adopt healthy lifestyle habits with you. Not only will it increase your chances of success, but it will also deepen your relationship as you learn new things together.
The key to healthy habits is focus. You have decided that this is what you are committed to. You have decided that this is the result you want. You aren’t waiting and hoping that it happens; you are creating the conditions that make it happen. If you’re ready to start creating healthy habits and take your life to the next level, work with a Results Coach to eliminate barriers to your best self. You are on your way to unlocking an extraordinary life.
Change your routine, change your life
Discover how to adopt healthy habits that will set you up for daily success. Read Tony Robbins’ Ultimate Health Guide to discover his five rules for lasting energy and vitality.