The Art of Habit Creation

The Art of Habit Creation

REVIEWED BY — Tanya Mezher, MS, RDN, CDN

Making a change, pledging to stick with it, and then actually making it a habit can feel impossible in the era of ever-changing health trends. We’ve all been there: you jump onto the new year’s bandwagon, stick to a practice for a matter of weeks or months, and then drop off entirely. This. Doesn’t. Work. 

Making it Stick

When it comes to meaningful commitments to your health, consistency and longevity are critical. That said, the effective adoption of a new wellness practice means making it a habit. While on paper making something habitual sounds simple, in reality, sticking to anything for longer than a period of weeks or months is difficult. When we don’t see instant results, oftentimes we are quick to succumb to burnout and fatigue. 

For any health modality that targets change at the root, patience is a key factor. With this in mind, when diving into a new practice, it's important to focus on its sustainable implementation. 

One of the best ways to form a habit is by starting with small changes and repeating them at regular intervals at the same time of day. A medical study focused on dietary changes found that through this methodology, the repetition becomes so ingrained over time that the behaviors form part of a daily routine. So whether it's oil pulling before breakfast or a cup of calming damiana tea at bedtime, set aside a time slot each day (or on specific, predetermined days) and start building a habit. 

Realistic Goal Setting

Equally important to repetition is setting realistic goals. Do you know yourself all too well, and a daily workout is just not gonna happen? Start slow and build up. Five pushups at your lunch break? Easy. Over time, as these small goals become habitual, they can evolve into more robust practices. 

At Malla we’re big believers in the efficacy of habit stacking. Building off of your pushups-at-lunch habit makes an easier transition to adding on thirty minutes at the gym Monday/Wednesday/Friday. When you’re already repeating a behavior, adding on another one comes more naturally. Plus, one of the golden promises of the gym is the sauna at the end. And if you haven’t heard by now, saunas are as good as it gets when it comes to removing toxins from the body, leaving your skin glowing, and promoting heart health. Maybe it's time to add dry saunas to the list of 2023 habits.

Centering Pleasure

Joking aside, one of the best ways to ensure that a habit sticks is by making it pleasurable. So yes, while that dry sauna is literally wringing the toxins out of your body, it’s also relaxing your muscles and making you feel really damn good. 
But what about habits like exercise or healthy eating that, at face value, are not always inherently fun? Like most things in life, mindset is key. Those push ups at lunch? Get hyped by approaching them as an opportunity to listen to your favorite playlist, podcast, or mantra meditation.  

New Year, New Habits

If you’re already discouraged by the laundry-list of forgotten New Year’s resolutions, join us in starting afresh with some simple, healthy habits. 
At Malla, we’ve chosen some of our favorite functional medicine practices to commit to habit. Stay tuned as we roll out our top practices for 2023, and join us in making a guilt-free, feel-good commitment to better health. 
Want an extra push in the right direction? Working with one of Malla’s functional medicine-trained practitioners is a great way to structure habits tailored to your personal goals. Nothing beats the support of an accountability buddy. 

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Feeling Ready to Feel Better?