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Change One Habit at a Time

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change one habit a day

New Year’s resolutions are dirty words around Homberg Chiropractic and Wellness – your Knoxville chiropractor.  We like to say you just need to change one habit a day.  

Too often, people make resolutions only to see them slide several months later. Some studies find that 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week in February. The reason most of them fail is that they are not realistic. If you’ve never run a marathon, you are not likely to find motivation overnight to start training for one. Also, if you have 50 pounds to lose, the change in the calendar year is probably not going to be enough to suddenly get to address those extra pounds.

The key to making changes – losing weight, exercising more, getting enough sleep or cutting out sugar – is to change your habits. You only need to change one habit a day to get you started. Research shows that when people change a single behavior at a time, the likelihood they’ll retain that habit for a year or more is more than 80 percent. If they try to change two behaviors at once, their chances of success drops to less than 35 percent; and if they try to change three habits, their success rate falls to less than 5 percent.

People often say they don’t have the willpower to succeed. If you only change one habit a day, you don’t really need willpower. Do you have to have the willpower to take a shower or brush your teeth? Of course not, because they are habits. If you got into the habit of not brushing your teeth, it would be easy to establish that habit – however, I strongly discourage that!

The definition of habit, according to Merriam-Webster dictionary is:

1: a settled tendency or usual manner of behavior; her habit of taking a morning walk

2a: an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary; got up early from force of habit

Think about it, you come home from work, you help the kids with homework, make dinner and sit down to watch television. It’s a habit, the behavior that is customary for you. So how do you break THAT habit and start a new habit of taking a walk after dinner?

Choose that one habit to change – you will not sit down to watch television after you eat. Write it down somewhere, perhaps in a healthy intention journal or on a whiteboard, you know the one in the kitchen where you keep your grocery list. Third, share your intention. Tell your family, shoot, get your family to join you! Tell your co-workers. Post it on social media. Also, share your progress. Did you walk every night after dinner for five straight nights? Share the great news with others. Accountability is an important step in changing your habit.

You can use the same philosophy with changing your diet. Choose one thing to eliminate such as sugar. Go one day without eating something sweet such as candy or a cookie. Then go another day that turns to three days and before long it’s become a habit, you’ll also notice you stop craving sugar. I have one patient who had the habit of drinking one soft drink a day, this daily habit had been going on for several years. She decided she wanted to give up soft drinks, so she started to cut back to just a few a week, then one a week or two a month. Before long, she’d cut them out and now she finds that soft drinks and sweet tea are too sweet.

Make an appointment today if you’d like to talk about how to change one habit a day that will help lead to a healthier you!

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