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Healthier Habits Made Simple – Checklist


The place that your health is in right now can be attributed to the sum of your habits. If you want to change them to better your health it’s going to take some deep understanding and more important action. The following checklist can be used a guide to help you on your way:

1.Keep a log of your daily behaviours for a week or two so that you can source where your potential triggers are coming from.

2.Once you spot a trend, record where you are, who you are with, what you just did, the time it was and the likely emotion you were feeling. After a few weeks see which cue stands out. This is most likely what is triggering you to do a habit.

3.To change a bad habit, consider can you choose a better alternative, increase the friction so that it makes it harder for you to do, avoid it completely by changing your environment or by building accountability.

4.To build a good habit, make it easy, make it attractive to do, reward yourself for doing it or join a culture that is already doing the habit you want to do more of.

5.Before picking where to start, clarify the exact goal such as “I want to lose 10 pounds” or “walk 5,000 steps a day”.

6.List all the potential behaviours that you think could work toward your goal.

7.Keep the behaviours that you think can realistically work for you right now considering your current abilities and commitment. Get rid of the ones that don’t “match” very well for you right now.

8.Pick a prompt that is likely to remind you to do your new habit. Think, alarms, post it notes or add it to a behaviour you already do.

9.Track your progress each day using a habit tracker, digital or physical can both work. If you notice you’re not doing them consistently, make them easier to do until the consistency improves.

10. Accept that habits take time to form and you will have to patience. Keep putting your reps. Every one you do moves you closer to making a new behaviour last.....

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Healthier Habits Made Simple – How To Break Bad Habit

While one habit that may not be so healthy for one person may actually be a healthy behaviour for another person. For example while watching box sets for hour may not be the best idea for someone who wants to lose weight, it might the only thing that helps someone with high stress to unwind. What you’re really trying to do when trying to break a bad habit is move your behaviour towards a different place.

Habits aren’t “bad” per SE, it’s the consistency of their effect on the person that’s doing them that causes the most harm. So in essence habits only become “bad” when they’re done for a long a period of time.

There are some real practical steps you can take to break the cycle. Below are the most common and effective ways to approach it.

Limit Your Exposure

One of the best ways to start is to limit your exposure to the triggers may be causing you to do a habit over and over again. For example, if your goal was to eat less to lose a few pounds and you find when you drink more than a couple of drinks of alcohol it leads you to binge on fast food on the way home.

Then limiting your exposure to alcohol or at least keeping it conservative is a good idea. Similarly, if you find yourself getting the urge to grab a kebab with all the trimmings each day from the local fast food joint, you’ll likely benefit from taking a different route home thereby limiting your exposure to the temptation.

Choose A Better Alternative

This one might seem obvious but it’s often an overlooked effective strategy. One of main reason e cigarettes have taken off is that have provided an alternative to smoking real cigarettes. Albeit the research isn’t clear of there long term effects, it is clear that that the uptake in them has grown massively since their existence.

This is largely because people can still practice their smoking habit but in a different way. Therefore, it makes change easy for people to switch and one of first rules you can stick buy when starting a new habit is make it easy (more on this later).

There are many ways to make things better than they were while forming a better habit at the same time. For example, many people would do well to switch to lower calorie options if there goal were to lose weight. Going from coke to diet coke, crisps to quavers, large to small portions and so on. If it is better alternative but only a slight change then this is another good place to start....

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Healthier Habits Made Simple – Noticing Your Habits

In order to form healthier behaviours and break unhealthy ones, we need to be able to become self-aware how behaviour works, habits, of course, are just learnt behaviours that we’ve become accustomed to doing overtime, and most of the time we don’t realise we’re actually doing them. Therefore, journaling by looking back over your day and writing down everything you did during that time is the best way to source what could be triggering you to behave a certain way that’s impacting your health.

To illustrate the point, I want you to think of a habit right now that you feel is not helping your health. It could be anything like sitting down for most of the day, buying unhealthy snacks to what you do at the weekend.

Ready? good, grab a pen and paper now and insert the habit

Now answer the following questions:

>What time does this usually happen? ________________________

>Where are you when this happens? ___________________________

>Who is there with you? _____________________________________

>What did you just do? ______________________________________

>What are you usually feeling? ______________________________

One of the above 5 is the CUE.

According to leading professor Charles Duhigg. The two most common cues are TIME and ENVIORNMENT, pay attention to these.

For example, if you wrote that eating too much cookies was the habit you want to change, and you are usually in the kitchen when you eat them, then the way the kitchen environment is designed is likely the cue.

The cookie jar may even be positioned at a place where you notice instantly when you step inside this location, like on the counter tops or next to the kettle. 

This visual trigger leads to a physical trigger and a routine evolves. Every time you enter the kitchen, make a cup of tea (or both), you grab a cookie at the same time. The combined taste of sweetness, sugar and fat lights up the reward sensors in the brain the neurological loop get reinforced (this is worth it) once again....

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Healthier Habits Made Simple – How Habits Work

So how do we actually form habits then? Well, first we need to understand how habits work because if we don’t then it’s very difficult to build ones that last. Essentially all habits work the same way, it all starts with a cue, something that triggers a response in which we act on that leads to some sort of reward. This is known as the habit loop system and the more we do the behaviour the more the “loop” gets reinforced until eventually, it all becomes automated.

For example, consider someone who’s walking down the street and suddenly they sense a smell (Cue) of their favourite food, the smell triggers a craving to seek out the food and before you know it, they’re getting stuck into a full-size pizza! (reward).

Now consider if the same person, walks the same street and every day gets triggered by the same cue, can you see how easy it is to fall into the same patterns of behaviour and eventually form an unhealthy habit?

This is why it is important to notice the cue that trigger us during our day, cues can be many things, emotions we feel, the people we are with to the environments we spend most of our time in – All can impact how we behave and how we act overtime. That’s why it’s important to notice what the cues are first and set your own triggers that are align with your goals.

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Healthier Habits Made Simple -Willpower Alone Won’t Cut It

One of the biggest mistakes people make every year when it comes to forming healthier habits is relying on will power alone to stay consistent with their new behaviours. If you think back to all the times you tried to start something healthier only to realise after a few weeks in that you just don’t have the “willpower” to stick at it you can probably list more than one where it didn’t quiet work out the way you thought it would.
The problem is that there is isn’t a button you can press that instantly turns willpower on. It simply isn’t on-demand, and there isn’t an endless supply at any given time.

The human brain is literally wired to seek out the highest amount of reward for the least amount of effort. The caveman and women got really clever at setting traps so that they could feast for days off animal meat as opposed to wasting tons of energy running after it hoping it would tire itself out and die.

The brain had to get really clever at choosing when you use willpower and when to reserve it. The issue with humans today is that we are often get distracted with the cognitive loads that work, family and everything in between throws at us and willpower inevitably depletes in quick time.

If you’ve ever had healthy intentions at the start of the day (or night before) but as soon as you arrived home from work sat on the couch and ordered a takeaway, you now understand that you couldn’t just press the willpower button to power you up.
Therefore, willpower needs to be treated with caution, being careful how you use your time, energy and decisions during the day is a real conversation you should start having with yourself now. It’s best not rely on willpower as you sole strategy and there isn’t enough to go around. At least now you know focusing on the more practical steps in setting up habits instead offers much more opportunity.

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Healthier Habits Made Simple -Introduction

Chapter 1. Introduction

Healthier Habits Made Simple

If you want to become healthier, fitter, and stronger not just for summer holidays or the Christmas night out, you are going to have to build sustainable habits. Habits that you find yourself doing without thinking about it. The problem is however is that most people do not understand how habits work. They fall victim to relying on “self-motivation” thinking that once they start Monday (because any other day would just be wrong) everything will just start to fall into place and they will mindlessly. I probably don’t need to tell you that adopting this approach simply doesn’t work and only leads to waste of time, money and heartache of 99% of people.

All is not lost though, once you understand the science behind building healthier habits along with the practical steps you can take to protect them you’ll be able to reap the rewards not just physically but psychologically also. The great thing is you won’t have to wait very long to build healthier habits in your life because what you’re about to learn is very easy to implement once you understand the simple science behind habit formation. Let’s dive in.

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Living the Healthy Lifestyle

You can become a healthier, happier and more successful person by making a few simple changes to your lifestyle. You will have to make changes to the overall you, not just change the amount of exercise you do or your diet.

The secret to achieving happiness and a healthier you is to balance your body and mind in harmony, it is only when we are balanced in physical health, mental and spiritual that we are truly healthy.

If we are healthy then we are happier and can reach success more easily in life, here are some ways you can bring back harmony and balance to your life
Exercise is an essential part, it helps to tone our body, keep our heart and lungs healthy and detoxifies.
Exercise can be anything from more vigorous routines such as aerobics to simply walking, pick your favorite activity and set aside a specific time of day and commit yourself to devoting a half-hour per day towards getting your body back into shape.
Eating right is the next essential step to maintaining a well-balanced life; our bodies need the right number of vitamins, nutrients and minerals to work at its best.

Making changes to our diet is easy, keep away from fast foods which contain a lot of saturated fats and sugar and start including more whole grains, chicken, fish, plenty of green vegetables and try to eat fresh fruit instead of juice when available.

Along with making changes to your diet you should include supplements such as vitamins, nutrients and minerals. Modern farming methods strip many of our foods of the minerals our bodies require and now just provide us with the basic nutrients....

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What Happens To Your Body When You Never Move?

What Happens To Your Body When You Never Move?

Our culture today is experiencing a lifestyle shift unlike any other change involving generations past. As modern technology continues to skyrocket toward the future, an almost perfect negative correlation can be found in the amount of physical activity the average individual performs.

While the perils of a sedentary lifestyle are somewhat common knowledge, this article will touch on a few of some of these detriments to specific anatomical systems.

Muscular System

A common trend you will notice as we progress in this discussion is the body’s remarkable ability to allocate resources to specific locations it deems necessary. Muscles are a direct and literally observable example of this trend.

When the muscular system is not frequently exposed to outside stresses and resistances that require muscle tissue to contract and shorten, the body notices and begins to decrease the amount of nutrients and oxygen the muscle receives.

Naturally, this leads to a reduction in overall muscle size and strength. On the contrary, if the body realizes that a muscle or group of muscles is being asked to handle an increased workout on a consistent basis, these structures will receive a greater influx of nutrients, thereby increasing in both size and force output.

Skeletal System

Our bones are specifically designed to provide an overall framework for the body, protect vital organs, store nutrients and specific types and cells and manage the perpetual effect of gravity. When an individual’s lifestyle is devoid of adequate physical activity, the skeletal system, as with most other body systems, begins to deteriorate due to a decrease in the nourishment it receives.

The overall strength of a bone is usually described in terms of bone mineral density (BMD). Processes such as prolonged periods of inactivity and aging are marked by an increase in this parameter. Quite obviously, decreased bone mineral density is highly correlated to increase breaks and fractures, as well as reduced overall functionality an individual maintains.

The Cardiovascular System

Your heart really is the MVP when it comes to persistence. No matter how inactive you choose to be, this organ does not follow suit. Although your heart will continue to function despite an inadequate amount of movement, it is far from immune to it.

Just a few examples of how lack of movement negatively affects the heart are a weaker, less efficient contraction, decreased oxygen uptake and obstructed flow of blood the through body. These issues force the heart to work much harder to keep you alive, which inevitably decreased the lifespan of the heart itself.

Metabolism & Bodyweight

Probably the most obvious consequence of not moving enough is an increase in bodyweight, often times leading to obesity. Your body has a specific amount of calories it requires to maintain vital structures such as the heart, brain and liver. Whatever caloric total remaining after these systems are accounted for is allocated to provide energy towards physical activity and movement.

In a movement deficit, these leftover calories are not burned as full and must be stored somewhere in the body for a later date. As you can probably guess, one of the main storage vessels is adipose tissue or body fat. Digressing back to the effects of inactivity of muscle tissue, specifically the reduction in muscle size due to non-use, metabolism is intricately involved in this process. Lean muscle mass actually has a high demand for calories even while at rest.

The more muscle present in the body, the higher the metabolic rate becomes. To put it simply, there will actually be less of those leftover calories we previously discussed, resulting in less potential for storage in the form of fat.

4 Fun Ways To Get Off The Couch

4 Fun Ways To Get Off The Couch

I don’t need to spend any significant amount of time harping on the importance of physical activity and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle. You are probably well aware that, without physical activity, you will not enjoy the maximum quality of life otherwise available.

Here’s the thing though, most advice pertaining to getting off of your couch and getting moving is all about getting into the gym and pumping iron. Every fitness plan promises to “build this amount of muscle” or “melt away this number of pounds in no time.” While you probably do not mind the idea of either of these things, the odds of you sticking to something you do not enjoy long enough to reap any benefits is slim to none.

Exercise does not have to be the primary variable in a situation. Although intense, focused workouts are certainly more challenging and probably beneficial, any time you get your body moving for an extended period of time, you are exercising.

The focus of this article will be to discuss four ways that you may not have considered that will cause you to get out of the house and get your body moving the way it was intended!

Try Your Hand At Martial Arts

If I asked you to describe some of your favorite movie scenes of all time, I can bet that at least some of them would involve action packed scenarios involving your favorite good guy engaged in hand-to-hand combat with their evil nemesis. These choreographed movements are certainly fun to watch, and you may have never even considered that these are real movements, taught at a real close, probably REALLY close to your home.

Martial arts gyms are really starting to pop up all over the place as sports like the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championships) and fitness in general are gaining traction.

The great thing about going straight from your couch to a local gym is that, in whatever gym teaching any of the various forms of martial arts you find your way into, no one is going to judge you. As a practice, martial arts is a sacred, inclusive form of training in which you will commonly find people of many levels of expertise training alongside one another.

Visit Your Local Driving Range

The truth is golf is really hard. You are very unlikely to hop straight from the sofa to the tee box and perform like a pro. However, for the sake of getting outside and moving around, the driving range can be a lot of fun even if you happen to be horrible at golf.

Whether you go alone or by yourself with a group of friends at a similar skill level, something about a pretty day and a bucket of cheap golf balls really sets a nice tone. Most driving ranges even have clubs available for you to rent, should you show up not even slightly equipped for golf.

I can guarantee that as you hack away at your allotted range balls, you will have a good time, even if most of the balls don’t travel more than a few feet. I will also assure you that you will notice you have been moving. Swinging a golf club, especially for the number of repetitions required to empty a container of driving range balls, will cause even the seasoned fitness junkie to break a sweat.

Experience Your Local Downtown

If you are like most people, your weekly outings regarding where you get the things you need is literal clockwork. If you were to trace your weekly route on a map and compare it week by week throughout the year, you would probably find yourself with one solid, overlapping shape.

A fantastic way to get off the couch and get moving is to check out your local downtown. The great thing about these places is that new small businesses tend to pop up all the time, helping with the monotony of your trips to the local supermarket.

In the way of physical activity, most downtown markets require you to park your car and then go from store to store on foot. This forces you to avoid finding the closest parking spot to the door at the grocery store, navigating aisles with pinpoint accuracy and getting back to your car with as little wasted steps as possible!

Sign Up For A City League Sport

If you live in an area with even a relatively decent population size, there are probably city-sponsored athletics events available to you. These usually include sports like softball and basketball, but larger cities often offer a much greater array of athletics.

A great thing about these types of leagues is that they are very welcoming and usually scaled to the level of intensity you are looking. Within each sport, there will usually be several divisions or “leagues” that offer a different level of competition, so you are able to find the one that works for you.

City league sports are a fantastic way to get moving, and possibly even make new friends (further increasing your odds of getting off of the couch).

The Case For Drinking Coffee Is Stronger Than Ever

There are few things more more ritualistic—and to many, more sacred—than a morning cup of joe. 64% of Americans drink at least one cup a day—a statistic that’s barely budged since the ’90s. Despite warnings from doctors over the years that coffee may be hard on the body, people have remained devoted to the drink.

Luckily for them, the latest science is evolving in their favor. Research is showing that coffee may have net positive effects on the body after all.

Is coffee bad for you?

For years, doctors warned people to avoid coffee because it might increase the risk of heart disease and stunt growth. They worried that people could become addicted to the energy that high amounts of caffeine provided, leading them to crave more and more coffee as they became tolerant to higher amounts of caffeine. Experts also worried that coffee had damaging effects on the digestive tract, which could lead to stomach ulcers, heartburn and other ills.

All of this concern emerged from studies done decades ago that compared coffee drinkers to non-drinkers on a number of health measures, including heart problems and mortality. Coffee drinkers, it seemed, were always worse off.

But it turns out that coffee wasn’t really to blame. Those studies didn’t always control for the many other factors that could account for poor health, such as smoking, drinking and a lack of physical activity. If people who drank a lot of coffee also happened to have some other unhealthy habits, then it’s not clear that coffee is responsible for their heart problems or higher mortality...

But it turns out that coffee wasn’t really to blame. Those studies didn’t always control for the many other factors that could account for poor health, such as smoking, drinking and a lack of physical activity. If people who drank a lot of coffee also happened to have some other unhealthy habits, then it’s not clear that coffee is responsible for their heart problems or higher mortality...