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Tips to Turn Bad Habits Into Good Ones

By Sandy Schroeder

Most of us have a few pet habits that we know we should change. Mine center on foods like salami and double-double burgers. Another challenge comes up when I plan to exercise, but let it slide by.

If you can relate, Prevention.com has come up with some ways to turn everything around. Here are a few tips.

Make change super easy - When you want to make sure you exercise, pick a time that fits right into your schedule and pick a routine that you really enjoy. The easier and more appealing it is the more likely it will happen. If your issues center on forbidden foods, start looking for healthy food substitutions. I find it easy to give up salami when I dip into hummus, guacamole or yogurt spinach dips. It's easy to skip burgers or fries when I fix a veggie lasagna or grilled salmon dinner.

Make your new habit automatic - Build habits by making them easy. If you need to eat more fruit, stash apples in your tote, and keep them on the coffee table. If you need to exercise more, put a yoga mat or treadmill in the family room and put your sneakers by the door, along with the dog's leash. Need to drink more water? Fill the fridge with bottles of water and keep a canister of water on your desk. When we can do things without even thinking about them, they may become ingrained in our day.

Attach new habits to regular ones - After you have had your coffee in the morning, take 10 minutes to meditate or do a series of stretches. After your evening bath, take a few minutes to do yoga poses or write in your journal. After lunch, instead of cruising the internet, pull out your sneakers and go for a walk. After dinner, instead of collapsing on the couch, walk the dog with your kids.

Turn new habits into a game - Whatever you need to do more of, turn it into a game. When you win with more steps, more daily routines, or less junk food, reward yourself with new sneakers. Get a workout buddy and start charting your goals. Or enlist your whole family and set up a bulletin board, complete with pictures of the ones who are meeting their goals.

If these habit reversals work, keep looking for more ways to support your good habits and ditch the bad ones.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in San Antonio, Tex.

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