4 Ways to Create Healthy Habits for Seniors
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” These are wise words from Aristotle. Routines can be incredibly helpful to seniors. Routines provide consistency and reliability, which offer feelings of comfort and ease. However, not all routines are created equal.
A routine can result from determination and effective goal setting or it can result from the exact opposite: bad, unplanned habits. The key is for seniors to create healthy routines that benefit their mind and body. For example, a healthy routine is to wake up every morning and take a walk outside or walk on the treadmill. A bad routine is to wake up every morning and eat two sugary donuts.
How can seniors ensure they are creating healthy routines? What is the best way to start them?
1. Stop procrastinating.
A routine will never happen if it’s not started now. There’s a great book called, The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt Free Play, which highlights reasons why people procrastinate and how to overcome them. The premise of the book is to confront fears, halt unhealthy stalling tactics, make any worries work toward a goal, have fun and take action Now.
2. Give it time.
A habit is not likely to form over night. It takes patience, dedication and discipline. Many self-help experts say 21 is the magic number of days to form a habit. This number may vary from person to person, but it is a good reference that proves habits need to be repeated over time in order to truly stick.
3. Find a support group or partner.
Accountability is a great way to help seniors stay on target. Support groups and partners not only help motivate seniors and make them feel like they are not alone, but they also offer a stronger sense of responsibility and obligation to help push a new routine forward.
4. Check-in and re-evaluate.
Is the new routine realistic and achievable? If it’s causing more roadblocks than success, then it’s a good time to reflect and determine if it needs to be modified. My last post highlights how to make “SMART” goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. This is a good framework to use to evaluate a budding routine.
By developing a healthy routine, seniors create a personal program that offers them more control and a path to greater happiness. Just remember Aristotle’s words and make sure the routine is a positive, healthy reflection of what is repeatedly done.