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How to Make Healthy Habits Stick

By Sandy Schroeder

Of course we are all agreeable to eating better and exercising more, just not right this minute! Most of us really mean to stick to these good health guidelines, but other things just keep getting in the way. Like long working hours, kids' sports, homework, project deadlines, etc. Bad choices like pizza and lounging often replace healthy dishes and regular walks.

How to Turn It Around

EasyHealthOptions.com tells us how to make healthy habits a regular course of events every day.

First - Repeating events over and over can fix them in place as healthy habits. Pick a comfortable spot in your daily schedule and slot  in a half hour or more of walking, stretching or strength exercises. When you insert them in your schedule, they tend to become as natural as brushing your teeth.

Second - Making healthy choices actually changes the way the brain works boosting your executive decision making skills such as setting and meeting goals, self-control, controlling temptation and solving problems. As you make repeated healthy choices you may notice other things playing out better at work and at home.

As you improve your health, you may notice you are getting more done at work, and even finding time to play or read to your kids in the evening. That constant up-in-the-air stretched feeling may be going away as you make fewer impulsive decisions and begin to plan, organize and track a lot of what you do.

What the Researchers Found

Researchers from the University of Sterling, Aberdeen and Dublin named these efforts "virtuous" or "vicious."  If you get up and run every morning, you will probably also make that early morning meeting and have something substantial to say. Both efforts demand self-discipline, and the more you repeat them the more automatic they become.

At the same time, making the effort to eat a healthy breakfast before you head to work can play into your performance. Instead of grabbing a bagel and arriving a few minutes late for the first meeting, you will probably be on time and a lot more alert.

The researchers found the opposite "vicious" approach can undermine everything over time, weakening the self-control to exercise and eat healthy.

We all know someone who runs through the week with extra caffeine, sugared donuts and burger and fries lunches. At night, there is often take-out, or missed meals with the family, and longer work hours.

Step back and take a long look at where you are now, and think about where you want to be. Then build in those daily fitness breaks, shop for some healthy treats that you enjoy, and move ahead with the best version of you.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Seal Beach, Calif.

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