Taking The Stress Out of Changing to Healthier Habits

managing your stress while changing habits 

By  Dr. Ann Gatty 

Our daily living patterns are constructed around the habits we follow—whether or not we are even aware of them.   The habits we follow often provide a sense of comfort—knowing what to expect as we navigate through our daily schedules.   

If you are looking to change some of your habits—a common goal at this time in the calendar year—you may find that changing habits can bring about stress.  Establishing new and healthier daily routines takes time.  You want these routines to become comfortable habits.   And habits require discipline and commitment to create and maintain.  Habits are central to our daily lifestyle status quo, and when the status quo changes, habits change.   

As you consider making changes in old familiar habits, be certain that you are altering your routines for positive and healthy reasons.  However don’t let the changes in habits increase the stress in your life.   There are times when changes in your life force you to change habits that you have been following.  If you find that you need to change your daily routines—for health reasons, career changes, or family obligations—be thoughtful about how you are going to alter things.   

Here are three steps: 

  1. Journal your ideas about how you would like to incorporate a new and changed habit into your daily schedule. 
  2. List strategies that you could use and create a doable and comfortable action plan. 
  3. Allow at least a one month trial period to see if the change is comfortable and working. With that amount of time you are on your way to establishing a new habit. 

    Changing habits can create a certain level of stress if you are not careful.  When you formulate a new direction and way of doing things, you can also find it refreshing with a new start.   With any change, make certain that new habits can provide a sense of stability and contribute to a healthy lifestyle.  Then the transitions, which occur throughout your personal and professional life, can be handled in a more positive and proactive manner. 

    Dr. Ann Gatty coaches individuals in stress management strategies and building life transitions.  She also coaches women in finding a life balance between professional and personal responsibilities.  Visit her website to learn more. 

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