Habit Building 071320

What’s So Important About Habit Building and Journaling? 

We are all trying to find our “new normal” in this pandemic while we maintain social distancing, wear masks, and keep our families safe. Since March, our schedules have been turned upside down, and so far there isn’t an end in sight.

It’s extremely important to establish healthy habits. This assists us in positively coping with our daily lives by keeping up with healthy routines.

One way you can keep healthy habits is to follow the guides in The Power of 5 Journal for Health and Wellness. The Power of 5 Journal is your tool to record, manage, and monitor your habits. It helps you stay focused and engaged with your daily habits as they relate to the 5 S’s (Sweets, Sweat, Stress, Sleep, Sex/Socialization).

Why is journaling so important?

  • Studies show that those who record their goals accomplish significantly more than those who did not record their goals.
  • Writing down goals establishes meaning, allows you to measure them, and helps maintain a level of attainability.
  • Journaling encourages satisfaction, self-expression, and a sense of ultimate accomplishment and success.
  • By journaling, you keep a record of past wins, which helps motivate you to continue.

Why is it important to set personal goals?

Goals are integral to growth and development. They are best accomplished if broken down into bite-sized, actionable steps. Setting a reasonable timeline for your goals makes them more manageable and reachable.

Remember how S.M.A.R.T. you are when writing down goals! S.M.A.R.T. stands for:
Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Realistic
Time-based

Journaling Takes Discipline

Now is the time to begin! Take small “grown-up” steps. We recommend starting and concluding every day by reviewing your fitness tracker journal.

Start by setting your goals. This is the first step, an important piece that will improve the likelihood of your success.

Let’s look at each “S” in the Power of 5 Ultimate Formula:

Sweets

Is there a specific goal weight you want to achieve? Choose a realistic number. Set a deadline for reaching it, and write down the reason why this is important to you. Reasons could be things like desiring to wear a certain size clothing, preparing for a special occasion like a wedding or birthday, or simply because losing weight may be important for your health and longevity.

For this goal, here are three habits you may want to build to get started:
1. Weigh yourself every day and record the number in your Journal.
2. Review your goals daily.
3. Plan ahead. What Power of 5 habit do you intend to work on next?

Sweat

Is there a fitness goal you wish to achieve, such as a smaller waist or bigger biceps? Perhaps you would like improved endurance? Or maybe you would like to be able to engage in an activity for longer before fatigue sets in.

We recommend at least 150 minutes of activity each week with the eventual goal of 240 minutes a week, minimum. This can be any type of activity and can be broken up into smaller pieces, such as walking three, ten-minute sets throughout the day. If you can walk ten minutes, then a goal of fifteen minutes is also likely achievable. Set a goal that will help you stretch, so you can continue to improve over the next several months, even beyond your initial measurable amount of time.

Here are three habits to get you started:
1. Set up your weekly schedule to accommodate 150 minutes of activity.
2. Review your sweat goals daily.
3. Plan your progression of activity to allow for continued improvement.

Sleep

It is well-documented that sleep is important for general health, longevity and reducing the risk of chronic disease. Therefore, incorporating healthy sleep habits into your lifestyle is important. The general recommendation is for seven to eight hours of sleep each night. You can measure this in several ways—we personally both use FitBits.

Here are three habits to get you started:
1. Set up a schedule that will fit your work and family life schedules.
2. Write down the schedule and review with your partner and family.
3. Measure and track in your journal every day.

Stress

It is hard to control stress, especially in turbulent times and when we are socially isolated. Do the best you can! Now is the perfect time to work on the practice of meditating.

Here are three habits to get you started:
1. Start with only a few minutes of meditation each day.
2. Write down inspiration or seek out a guru of sorts to learn new techniques you don’t already know.
3. Track and record your progress.

Sex/Socialization

Most of us interact with people and loved ones all day long. Take an extra minute or two to make the interaction more meaningful; say, “I love you” more.

Here are three habits to get you started:
1. Take a few seconds after each interaction to remind yourself about how good it felt to make that social connection.
2. Write down your thoughts.
3. Track and record your progress.

We hope this guide is helpful for you. Let us know how you are doing on your health journey.

To a Long and Healthy Life,

Melissa and David Bernstein, MD