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15 Hacks to Build Healthy Habits in 2024

1. Start Small and Build Momentum

15 Hacks to Build Healthy Habits in 2024
15 Hacks to Build Healthy Habits in 2024

Building healthy habits can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! Imagine you’re building a big tower with toy blocks. You don’t start with all the blocks at once, right? You begin with one block, then add another, and another. That’s how we build healthy habits too!

First, pick one tiny healthy habit you want to start. Maybe it’s drinking a glass of water when you wake up. That’s your first block! Do this every day for a week. It’s so small and easy, you can’t say no! Once you’ve got that down, add another small habit, like eating a piece of fruit with breakfast.

Before you know it, you’ll have a whole tower of healthy habits! Remember, just like with building blocks, if one falls, you can always put it back. The most important thing is to keep trying and adding more healthy blocks to your life tower.

2. Use the “Two-Minute Rule”

Have you ever heard of the “Two-Minute Rule”? It’s like a magic trick for starting healthy habits! Here’s how it works: if a new habit takes less than two minutes to do, you should do it right away. It’s that simple!

Let’s say you want to start reading more. Instead of saying, “I’ll read for an hour every day” (which might feel too big), you say, “I’ll read just one page every day.” That takes about two minutes! Or if you want to exercise more, you could say, “I’ll do two push-ups every day.” Two minutes, done!

The cool thing is, once you start, you often want to keep going. You might read more than one page or do more than two push-ups. But even if you don’t, you’re still building the habit. It’s like planting a tiny seed that will grow into a big, healthy habit tree!

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3. Create a Habit Stack

Imagine you’re making a sandwich. You don’t just eat the bread alone, right? You stack different yummy things inside to make it better. We can do the same thing with healthy habits! This is called “habit stacking.”

Here’s how it works: you take a habit you already have and stack a new healthy habit on top of it. For example, let’s say you always brush your teeth in the morning (that’s your bread). Now, right after brushing your teeth, you could do ten jumping jacks (that’s your new, healthy filling).

You could also stack “drink a glass of water” on top of “wake up in the morning,” or “take a deep breath” on top of “sit down for dinner.” The possibilities are endless! By connecting new healthy habits to things you already do, you’re more likely to remember and do them. It’s like creating a delicious, healthy habit sandwich!

4. Make Your Environment Work for You

Your environment is like the stage where you perform your daily life play. If the stage is set up right, it’s much easier to act out your healthy habits! Let’s think about how we can make our home, school, or workplace a “healthy habit friendly” place.

First, look around your room. Are there things that make it hard to be healthy? Maybe there’s a big jar of cookies on your desk that tempts you all day. You could move that to a high shelf or out of sight. On the other hand, are there things that could help you be healthier? You could put a water bottle on your desk to remind you to drink more water.

Additionally, you can set up “habit stations.” If you want to exercise more, put your running shoes by the door where you’ll see them. If you want to eat more fruits, keep a bowl of apples on the kitchen counter. By making your healthy choices easy to see and reach, you’re giving yourself a big head start on building those healthy habits!

5. Use Visual Reminders

Our eyes are like superhero helpers when it comes to remembering things. That’s why using visual reminders can be a fantastic way to build healthy habits. Think of it like leaving yourself friendly little notes all around!

One fun way to do this is to use sticky notes. You could write “Drink water!” on a sticky note and put it on your fridge. Or you could draw a little picture of someone doing jumping jacks and stick it on your bedroom door. Every time you see these notes, they’ll remind you of your healthy habits.

Another idea is to use a habit tracker. This is like a special calendar where you put a sticker or draw a star every time you do your healthy habit. It’s so satisfying to see all those stickers or stars adding up! Plus, it helps you see how well you’re doing over time. Remember, just like growing a plant, building healthy habits takes time, but with these visual reminders, you’ll be able to see your progress blooming!

6. Find an Accountability Buddy

Building healthy habits is a bit like going on an adventure. And what makes adventures more fun? Having a friend to share them with! That’s where an accountability buddy comes in. This is someone who knows about your healthy habit goals and helps you stick to them.

Your accountability buddy could be a friend, a family member, or even a teacher. You tell them about the healthy habits you’re trying to build, and they check in with you to see how you’re doing. It’s like having a cheerleader just for your healthy habits!

For example, if you and your buddy both want to eat more vegetables, you could text each other pictures of the veggies you eat each day. Or if you’re trying to exercise more, you could agree to do jumping jacks together over a video call. Having someone to share your successes (and challenges) with makes the journey of building healthy habits much more enjoyable. Plus, you get to help your buddy with their goals too!

7. Celebrate Small Wins

Building healthy habits is like climbing a big mountain. You don’t jump straight to the top – you take lots of small steps. Each of these small steps is a win, and it’s super important to celebrate them! Celebrating makes you feel good and motivates you to keep going.

Let’s say your goal is to drink more water. Every time you finish a glass of water, that’s a win! You could do a little happy dance, give yourself a high five, or simply smile and say “Good job!” to yourself. These little celebrations tell your brain, “Hey, this is good! Let’s do more of this!”

Moreover, you could keep a “victory journal” where you write down all your small wins. At the end of each week, read through your journal and feel proud of all the healthy steps you’ve taken. Remember, every drop of water you drink, every vegetable you eat, every minute you exercise is a win. By celebrating these small victories, you’re building a positive attitude that will help your healthy habits grow strong!

8. Make it Fun

Who says building healthy habits has to be boring? Not us! One of the best ways to stick to your new healthy habits is to make them as fun as possible. Think of it like turning your healthy habits into a game or a party!

For instance, if you’re trying to eat more fruits and vegetables, you could play “rainbow foods.” Try to eat a fruit or vegetable of every color of the rainbow each day. Red strawberries, orange carrots, yellow bananas, green broccoli, blue blueberries, purple grapes – it’s like eating a rainbow!

If you want to be more active, you could have a dance party every day. Put on your favorite song and dance like nobody’s watching for the whole song. That’s exercise, and it’s super fun! Or you could pretend you’re on a secret spy mission when you go for a walk, looking for “clues” in your neighborhood.

The key is to use your imagination and turn your healthy habits into something you look forward to. When healthy habits are fun, you’re much more likely to stick with them. So put on your thinking cap and find ways to add a sprinkle of fun to your healthy habit journey!

9. Use Technology Wisely

In today’s world, we have some amazing helpers right in our pockets – our phones and tablets! These devices can be super useful in building healthy habits, if we use them wisely. Think of them as your personal healthy habit assistants!

There are lots of apps that can help you track your water intake, remind you to stand up and move, or guide you through quick exercise routines. Some apps even turn healthy habits into games, where you can earn points or compete with friends. It’s like having a virtual coach cheering you on!

But remember, while technology can be helpful, it’s important not to spend too much time on screens. You could set a “screen time” limit for yourself, and use the time you save to practice your healthy habits. For example, instead of playing one more game on your tablet, you could use that time to do some stretching or read a book.

The goal is to make technology work for you, not the other way around. Use it to learn about healthy habits, track your progress, and stay motivated. But always remember that the real magic happens when you put down the device and actually do the healthy habit!

10. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is like a superpower for your brain. It means paying attention to what’s happening right now, without worrying about the past or future. This can be a big help when you’re trying to build healthy habits!

One way to practice mindfulness is through deep breathing. Take a big breath in through your nose, counting to four. Then breathe out through your mouth, counting to four again. Do this a few times whenever you feel stressed or before you start a healthy habit. It’s like pressing a reset button for your mind!

You can also practice mindfulness while doing your healthy habits. For example, when you’re eating a healthy snack, pay attention to how it looks, smells, and tastes. When you’re exercising, notice how your body feels as it moves. This helps you enjoy the moment and appreciate the good things you’re doing for yourself.

Mindfulness can also help you notice when you’re about to break a healthy habit. If you catch yourself reaching for a cookie instead of an apple, take a moment to breathe and think about your goals. This pause can give you the chance to make a healthier choice. Remember, being mindful doesn’t mean being perfect – it just means being aware and doing your best in each moment!

11. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is like a magic potion for your body and mind. It helps you grow, heal, and get ready for a new day. That’s why getting enough sleep is one of the most important healthy habits you can build!

Think of your body like a toy robot. After playing all day, it needs to recharge its batteries. That’s what sleep does for you! When you sleep, your body works on growing and repairing itself. Your brain also uses this time to sort through everything you learned during the day.

To help you get good sleep, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This helps your body know when it’s time to sleep. You can also create a bedtime routine, like reading a book or listening to calm music before bed. This tells your body and mind that it’s time to wind down.

It’s also important to make your bedroom a good place for sleep. Keep it dark, quiet, and not too hot or cold. And try to avoid looking at bright screens (like phones or tablets) right before bed, as the light can make it harder to fall asleep. By making sleep a priority, you’re giving yourself a big boost in building other healthy habits too!

12. Practice Gratitude

Gratitude is a fancy word for being thankful for the good things in your life. It’s like wearing special glasses that help you see all the positive stuff around you. Practicing gratitude can make you happier and healthier, and it’s a great habit to build!

One easy way to practice gratitude is to think of three things you’re thankful for each day. You could do this in the morning when you wake up, or at night before you go to sleep. These can be big things, like having a family that loves you, or small things, like enjoying a yummy apple for snack.

You could also start a gratitude journal. Every day, write down one or two things you’re grateful for. It could be as simple as “I’m thankful for my cozy bed” or “I’m grateful for my friend who made me laugh today.” When you’re feeling down, you can look back at your journal and remember all the good things in your life.

Another fun idea is to tell other people what you’re grateful for. You could tell your parents “Thank you for making dinner,” or tell your friend “I’m glad you’re my friend.” This not only makes you feel good, but it makes others feel good too! By practicing gratitude, you’re training your brain to notice and appreciate the positive things in life, which can help you stay motivated to keep up your other healthy habits.

13. Learn to Manage Stress

Stress is like a pesky monster that can make it hard to stick to healthy habits. But don’t worry! There are lots of ways to tame this monster and keep it from bothering you too much.

One great way to manage stress is through exercise. When you move your body, it releases special chemicals that make you feel good and help push the stress away. This could be something as simple as doing jumping jacks, having a dance party in your room, or going for a bike ride.

Another helpful trick is deep breathing. Remember the mindfulness breathing we talked about earlier? That’s a great tool for managing stress too! When you feel stressed, take a few deep breaths. Imagine you’re blowing up a big ooballn in your belly as you breathe in, and then letting all the air out as you breathe out.

Talking about your feelings can also help manage stress. If something is bothering you, tell a grown-up you trust, like a parent or a teacher. They might be able to help you solve the problem, or just listening to you might make you feel better.

Remember, some stress is normal and can even be helpful sometimes. But by learning to manage stress, you’re giving yourself a better chance of sticking to your healthy habits and feeling good overall!

14. Stay Hydrated

Water is like magic fuel for your body. Just like a plant needs water to grow tall and strong, your body needs water to stay healthy and do all the amazing things it does every day. That’s why staying hydrated (which means drinking enough water) is such an important healthy habit!

Your body uses water for all sorts of important jobs. It helps carry nutrients to all your cells, keeps your temperature just right, and even helps your brain think clearly. When you don’t drink enough water, you might feel tired, grumpy, or get a headache.

So how much water should you drink? A good rule of thumb is to drink when you feel thirstty and to pay attention to the color of your pee – if it’s pale yellow, you’re probably well hydrated. If it’s dark yellow, you might need to drink more water.

To make drinking water more fun, you could use a special water bottle that you decorate yourself. Or you could add slices of fruit to your water to give it a yummy flavor. Some kids like to pretend they’re astronauts drinking their special space water!

Remember, other drinks like milk and juice can help you stay hydrated too, but water is the best choice because it doesn’t have any sugar or calories. By making a habit of drinking water throughout the day, you’re doing something really great for your body!

15. Be Patient and Kind to Yourself

Building healthy habits is like planting a garden. You don’t put a seed in the ground and expect to see a full-grown flower the next day, right? It takes time, care, and patience. The same is true for your healthy habits!

Sometimes, you might forget to do your new healthy habit, or you might not feel like doing it. That’s okay! Instead of getting upset with yourself, try to be kind. Talk to yourself like you would talk to a good friend. You could say something like, “That’s alright, I’ll try again tomorrow.”

Remember, nobody is perfect, and making mistakes is part of learning. Each day is a new chance to practice your healthy habits. If you forget to drink water one day, you can start fresh the next day. If you eat too many cookies one afternoon, you can choose to eat something healthier for dinner.

The most important thing is to keep trying. Every time you practice your healthy habit, even if it’s not perfect, you’re making progress. It’s like adding another drop of water to your plant – over time, all those little efforts will help your healthy habits grow strong!

By being patient and kind to yourself, you’re creating a positive environment where your healthy habits can flourish. And that’s something to be really proud of!

In conclusion, building healthy habits is a journey that takes time, effort, and persistence. By starting small, using tools like habit stacking and visual reminders, making it fun, and being kind to yourself, you can create lasting changes that will benefit you for years to come. Remember, every step you take towards healthier habits is a victory, no matter how small. So here’s to a healthier, happier you in 2024 and beyond!

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Written by Susie Wade

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