Your mental and physical health are made up of the habits you build in your everyday life. These choices and the way you treat yourself have a long-lasting impact on your overall wellness. If you often struggle with “sticking to” healthy habits or routines, you may be making a fundamental mistake. Healthy habits, when done right, are easy and exciting to stick with. The key is adapting and making sure you are taking action for the right reasons (and at your own pace). This way, you can feel naturally inspired to maintain a lifestyle that truly makes you feel good. The next time you struggle to take care of yourself, avoid these common self-care mistakes.
Restricting yourself is a detrimental habit far too many people make. If you’ve ever told yourself you cannot eat something, or that you need to restrict from a habit completely, you may have found yourself only wanting to do it more. A restrictive mindset damages your motivation to take actions that are good for you. On the other hand, an abundance mindset will get you excited to take positive steps toward your best mental and physical health. When thinking about food, consider eating more of what makes you feel energized and happy. When thinking about indulging, think about the outcome you’d like and how to achieve balance rather than restriction. By changing your mindset to an abundant one, you’ll find yourself motivated and excited to treat yourself well.
Think about implementing habits such as:
- Cooking healthy meals with exciting ingredients
- Trying a fun workout class
- Practicing meditation
- Spending more time outside with friends
The way you talk to yourself may be sabotaging your healthy habits. Sometimes your attitude is the thing that can make or break your success in long-term wellness. For example, if you constantly tell yourself that you can “never stick with healthy eating”, you will likely repeat this in your mind when faced with a decision to eat junk food. If you tell yourself, you “hate exercise”, you might decline a fun workout class without even trying. Self-talk also comes in the form of our confidence levels and the smaller habits we choose daily. If you tell yourself, you deserve to feel good, you are more likely to get to bed on time and spend efforts on personal hygiene and your mental health. Double check the way you are narrating your experience if you struggle believing you can stick to certain habits.
Improve your self-talk by:
- Celebrating your wins and habits you do succeed with
- Working with a life or health coach
- Journaling your insecurities to move past them
- Practicing affirmations for more positive thinking
Doing it Alone
Approaching your mental and physical health is not a journey you need to go on alone. In fact, professionals exist in all areas of your health and millions of people visit them for all sorts of challenges and preventive care. Asking for help is a habit you should never overlook as it can help you prevent serious mental and physical emergencies later in life. If you find yourself struggling to keep a positive mental state, consider working with a psychologist so the rest of your lifestyle operates on a healthy note. Visit your doctor regularly and ask them if you need extra support maintaining habits such as healthy eating. You can also rely on your support system to communicate with you and help you work past challenges when they arise. Building healthy habits is something that might require support, so avoid the mistake of going through it alone.
Reach out to your:
- Licensed psychologist for mental health care
- Primary doctor for wellness checks
- Holistic treatment centers for serious addictions
- Local support groups for community
- Friends and family for emotional care
Setting Unrealistic Goals
The last mistake people make when struggling with healthy habits is setting goals that do not fit into their lifestyles. Beginning with unrealistic expectations is unfair to your success because starting small is the most powerful way to build habits over time. The most successful habits require patience and adaptation in order to make them truly work within your world. You may fail plenty of times, and learning how to pick yourself back up is the thing that will give you skills to maintain long-term healthy habits. Think about the habits you already have and how long it took to truly cultivate them. This may inspire you to set clear goals the next time you worry about reaching an unrealistic goal.
Examples of SMART goals include:
- Eating a healthy meal 3 times a week
- Going for a walk each morning before work
- Going to sleep by 9 p.m. nightly
- Meditating for one hour each week
Get familiar with these mistakes to build your self-awareness the next time you struggle creating a healthy habit. Chances are, you were simply focusing your efforts in the wrong place or skipping a step. Learning how to live with an abundance mindset, setting realistic goals, asking for help, and building your self-confidence will double your chances of creating habits that last. Use these tips to build a lifestyle you love and protect your physical and mental health in the long term.
Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoys writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.