Planting Seeds and Growing Healthy Habits: Taking Care of Your Future Health
When we talk about taking care of your future health, we often talk about planting the seeds to grow healthy habits. Habits take time to build, and although we’ve commonly heard it takes 21 days, a 2009 study from the European Journal of Social Psychology found that on average it takes 66 days to truly build a habit. If you’re thinking, “Wow Dr. Jill, that’s a long time!” fear not: here are four steps you can take to help you build those habits for taking care of your future health.
1. Remember that healing takes time, too
It’s really difficult to be patient, especially when you feel like you’re taking all of the steps and checking all of the boxes, but you just don’t feel better yet. Remember that pain is actually the last symptom of any issue or disease and while symptoms can be helped, true health is the absence of symptoms which, you guessed it, takes time to achieve.
Pro-tip: do a short, daily journal of how you’re feeling. Over time, you’ll be able to look back and compare how you’re feeling now to how you were feeling before, and hopefully celebrate how far you’ve come, even on the days where you’re feeling impatient to feel better.
2. Daily habits matter just as much as longer-term habits
When we think about healing, we might tend to focus on the longer-term habits, like chiropractic care and strengthening our bodies. But the daily habits we build to promote and support health matter, too! Here are a few daily habits you can build to take care of your future health:
Drink water: while the recommendations seem to change often, shoot for half of your body weight in ounces. So if you weigh 180 pounds, try to drink 90 oz of water. If you can’t get to that number, try to increase what you’re currently taking in by 16 oz.
Move your body: Going for a short walk during your lunch break or after dinner can significantly improve your body’s digestion! 20-30 minutes is a great goal, but even just 5 or 10 is a great daily habit.
Eat food: try not to let yourself get ravenously hungry. You need food to fuel even the basic tasks of your day, so be sure to have a plan in place to eat, no matter how busy the day ahead may be.
Get some sleep: we all know that 7-8 hours of sleep per night is ideal, but how often do we prioritize going to bed on time? Try to limit screen time before bed to let your brain start to rest before the time you intend to go to sleep.
3. Break down your goals into attainable habits
Let’s say that the “drink water” habit above feels like a big goal to you. Instead of saying “okay today I am going to go from drinking 8 oz of water to drinking 100 oz of water” say “today I’m going to have 12 oz of water”. You might think that only adding 4 oz to your daily goal isn’t enough, but trust me, it is! That small, attainable habit will feel like a good win, and inspire you to add another 4 oz in a very short amount of time. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the bigger goal, you’ll feel encouraged to keep building the smaller, attainable habit. Give it a try and let us know how it goes!
4. Remember it doesn’t have to be perfect
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves! You do not have to plant perfect seeds to make a good impact on your future health. Each tiny bit of good you can do for yourself adds up. When we strive for consistency instead of perfection, we are much more likely to accomplish our goals and enjoy the journey.
Planting seeds and growing habits to take care of your future health is something you can start today. If you want to talk about more good ways to get started, drop us a line and we’ll be happy to help!