Building sustainable health habits is hard! We all know that we need to eat more vegetables, get regular exercise, sleep more, and incorporate a daily stress-reducing routine. But making, and sticking to, these changes is hard. One of the reasons why sustaining healthy habits is so hard is because we are emotional beings and many of our habits are driven by how we feel. Many of our unhealthy habits are driven by negative emotions and breaking bad health habits and instilling healthy habits requires a positive mindset.

If you are waking up in the morning and looking in the mirror and thinking, ugh, I have gained so much weight, or have gotten so flabby, or look so old, or stressed. Or if you jump out of bed thinking about all the things you have to do and how stressful your day is going to be, you are setting up for a day of failure. Not only will you struggle to achieve your daily goals, but you are also telling yourself that you are not worthy of getting healthy, nor do you have the time or energy to focus on your health. Your emotions and outlook on life are key components for creating healthy habits.

Here are 2 quick and easy ways that can help flip the switch for a more positive mindset:

The Maui Habit

The Maui habit was developed by Dr. BJ Fogg, a behavior scientist at Stanford University and author of the book Tiny Habits. The habit grew out of inspiration from a birthday card Dr. Fogg received one year from a Hawaiian friend. The words on the front of the card read “Every Day is a Gift.” Being deeply touched by those words, he began incorporating that sentiment into his life by waking up every morning and stating what a great day it is going to be. He began to see how this one tiny habit of starting the day with a positive mindset had a huge impact on his life.

The Maui Habit is to start each day repeating the phrase “today is going to be a great day” or “an awesome day”, or “an amazing day.” Saying and repeating this simple phrase can trigger your brain for positive thoughts and positive outcomes throughout the day. This simple 3-second habit helps to create positive energy for the day, which will intern help you to make positive, healthy choices. Additionally, these positive thoughts crowd out those negative, self-sabotaging thoughts that lead to destructive habits.

Positive Self-Talk

Self-talk is that running internal dialogue that goes on in your head every day. It can be negative like “you are not good enough”, or “you can’t do anything right” or it can be positive like “you are doing great.” The way that you talk to yourself can have a profound impact on your behavior and your habits. It is very hard to stick to a health goal if you don’t feel as if you are ever going to achieve it, or deserve to achieve it. Positive self-talk boosts your self-confidence in your ability to achieve your goals and instills the belief that the things you want are achievable. Then, when you are faced with certain challenges or barriers to your goal, it is easier to find ways to overcome them. Even a small shift in that dialogue in your head towards more positive words can have a tremendous impact on helping you change your behavior and reinforce healthy habits.

Just having a positive mindset can improve your health. 

Positive thinking has been associated with:

  • Increased lifespan

  • Lower risk of depression

  • Greater resistance to the common cold

  • Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease

  • Better coping skills during stressful times, reducing the harmful effect of stress on your body

People with a positive mindset tend to live healthier lifestyles; they get more physical activity, follow a healthier diet and don’t smoke or drink alcohol in excess.

Keeping a positive mindset, engaging in positive self-talk, starting your day with a positive thought like “it is going to be a great day”, I believe, is the first step in helping you to make those proactive changes that lead to long-term, sustainable health habits.


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