Living a healthier life is easier when you develop healthy habits. Take the Pink Ribbon Runner 31 Day Healthy Habits Challenge and start on a path towards a healthier and happier you. The time for change is now!
What is a Healthy Habit?
The Cambridge Dictionary defines a habit as something that you do often and regularly, sometimes without knowing that you are doing it.
“We are all creatures of habit. We can do most things without even thinking about them; our bodies take charge and do them for us.”
– Earl Nightingale –
Humans are designed to form habits. When a task becomes routine, consistent, and automatic, it saves energy. You no longer consciously think about doing it. You just do it.
Habits can be destructive to your health, as in smoking. Or habits can promote good health, such as brushing your teeth daily. Of course, you want more healthy habits and less destructive habits in your life. That is why you are here, reading this article, right?
A healthy habit is something that you do often and regularly that is beneficial to your physical or mental health. It is wonderful when you can do this without knowing you are doing it, like breathing. More often healthy habits require a bit more intention, self-discipline and self-control. But they don’t have to be complicated.
How Do You Form a Healthy Habit?
First, determine which healthy habit you want to achieve. Set some goals for forming this habit. Keep it reasonable and uncomplicated. Make those goals SMART goals. Break your goals down into smaller, more achievable chunks. These are your baby steps towards forming a healthy habit.
Also find your “why”; the reason you want to make this change. What makes you want to form this habit? I assume that you want to be healthier and happier. But dig deeper and be specific. Why do you want to be healthier? What is motivating you to seek more happiness in your life? Write down your answers and thoughts so you can revisit these motivating thoughts often.
Then start. Start with step one. In fact, start at the beginning of step one. Go slowly. Don’t complicate it. Keep it simple. Don’t try to achieve too much at once.
For example, if your goal is to drink more water. And you developed a SMART goal of drinking 8 cups of water everyday for a month. Start by filling your water bottled to a measured amount, perhaps 2 cups. Then keep this water bottle near by and handy so that it becomes easy for you to take a sip.
The easier you make the task to complete, the easier it will be to form a healthy habit.
How Long Does It Take to Form a Habit?
The common assumption is that it takes 2 months to form a healthy habit. But that is too simplistic of a statement. There are so many factors in why something becomes a habit, the time it takes to form can vary greatly.
One study showed that it can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days to form a healthy habit. The more often the behavior was repeated, the less time it took to form the habit.
5 factors that influence how long it takes to form a healthy habit include:
- How often the task is repeated.
- How complicated the task is.
- How convenient the task is to perform.
- How motivated you are to form the habit.
- How valued the reward is.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
– Will Durant –
What are the top 12 Habits for a Healthier and Happier Life?
- Getting at least 150 minutes of cardio exercise in per week
- Eating more vegetables and fruits
- Doing strength training exercises at least twice per week
- Accepting yourself, your thoughts, and emotions
- Limiting processed foods and added sugars
- Getting enough sleep
- Quieting your mind
- Staying hydrated
- Practicing kindness, including self-kindness and self-compassion
- Eating mindfully and in balance
- Getting more fresh air
- Finding enjoyment in life, no matter how simple or small.
“Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, and your values become your destiny.”
– Mahatma Gandhi –
The Pink Ribbon Runner 31 Day Healthy Habits Challenge
I designed a 31-day challenge to introduce you to some healthy habits. The idea is to do one healthy task every day for an entire month. There are tasks from all the 3 key foundations to living a healthy life.
1. Fitness Challenges for A Happier Body and Mind
Exercise is important for a healthy and happy life. Activities that raise your heart rate boost your immune system and release your happy hormones. So, for the 31 Day Healthy Habits Challenge, I included a variety of exercises to give you a taste of fitness habits.
2. Healthy Eating Challenges for A Stronger Immune System
I included some healthy foods and cooking into the 31 Day Healthy Habits Challenge to help you make better choices in planning your meals.
3. Mindfulness Challenges to Ease Stress In Your Life
Chronic stress in life can lead to a deterioration of both mind and body. It is important for your health to do things that will help you lesson the effects of stress on your physical and mental health. Mindfulness practices are tools to achieve this.
Mindfulness is a state of awareness about living in the present moment. It is acknowledging thoughts, feelings, and emotions. It encompasses techniques to calm the mind, which also has a positive effect on physical health through internal release of beneficial body chemicals.
I have included such mindful practices as meditation, drawing and kindness in the 31 Day Healthy Habits Challenge. I encourage you to try them and find the stress-relieving techniques that work for you.
How Do You Access the Full 31 Day Healthy Habits Challenge?
The 31 Day Healthy Habits Challenge is completely free. I put it together into an eBook that you can download from the Pink Ribbon Runner Library. Simply subscribe to my newsletter and emails and you get free VIP access to the library containing the challenge and so much more.
The free eBook contains all you need to do the month long challenge. Start whenever you want. You can do the days in order from 1 to 31. Or you can do them in whichever order you wish.
I included a tracking log page that you can print to keep track of which challenges you completed. There are other printable tools, such as a meal planner and calendar pages, to assist you in completing the challenges.
Each day’s challenge includes 3 different levels you can achieve: novice, advanced and expert. While you may be novice on some days, you will also likely be an expert in others. It was designed to help you identify your strengths and things that you need to work on. And it can be motivating to try to get to the next level on some of the days to see what you are capable of.
You can also participate in the challenge from January 1 to 31 on the Pink Ribbon Runner Facebook Page. I will be running the challenge there, so come join us in the fun. You can comment your successes, ask questions about the challenges, and share with your friends. And, of course, this is all free too.
What To Do When the 31 Day Healthy Habits Challenge is Over
Once you have tried each of the 31 healthy challenges, it is time to celebrate your accomplishments. It is also time to look over what you have achieved. What areas were you good at? What areas need more work? Which challenges were fun and easy to do? Which were a chore and difficult to complete?
Next, pick at least one activity from each of the 3 key foundations; fitness, healthy eating and mindfulness. Practice each of these activities over and over for several months until doing them becomes just as automatic as brushing your teeth.
Don’t pick all of the challenges at once. That is too overwhelming and unnecessary. The idea is to work on a few things until they become habits; until it hardly takes any thought to do them. When they become incorporated into your daily life, then come back and pick a couple more things to work on.
As you continue to build and incorporate more healthy habits into your life, you will become a healthier and happier you!