Learn how to identify trends and habits and take back control of your life. We also give you tips to help you develop healthy habits.
Reasons to Identify Trends
There are many reasons to identify trends, the most important of which is to pinpoint areas of our lives that need improvement and protect existing good habits. It’s especially true when it comes to our health habits.
Identifying bad habits, as well as their triggers, are essential to steps towards overcoming health barriers and living a healthier life. Besides, bad habits exacerbate each other. Therefore, it’s vital to identify trends before they worsen.
Additionally, when you identify trends, you may discover an underlying cause that affects many aspects of your life. For instance, pollution, smoking, and inactivity affect your lung health. It also impacts how easily you climb a flight of stairs or how long you can play with your kids.
Lastly, once you become aware of your habits, you may notice how your behavior patterns affect those around you. Your children may mimic your eating habits, for example.
Ways to Identify Trends: Bad Habits and Health Barriers
The quickest way to identify bad habits is to ask your partner, friends, or family. They’ll quickly point out behaviors you didn’t even realize you had. However, you’ll need to be open to what they have to say.
On the other hand, identifying trends by yourself requires introspection and being honest with yourself, which isn’t always easy.
Before you begin, it’s crucial to know what qualifies as a bad habit because it won’t be the same for everyone. For instance, one person may say eating carbs is an unhealthy habit, but for someone else, it might not be bad at all.
In general, a bad habit meets the following criteria:
- It keeps you from being your best.
- It harms your health or wellness.
- Repetitive negative behavior patterns.
- You can stop the behavior with willpower and perseverance (Unlike a medical condition, for example).
- Society takes a dim view of it, or it breaks customs.
- Many find the behavior offensive, annoying, or something to be avoided.
Additionally, if you rationalize and justify some behaviors to yourself and others, it might be a bad habit.
With that in mind, it’s time to admit you have bad habits, identify them, and write them down.
You don’t have to identify them all right away, though. You can add it to your list at any time.
And if you’re still unsure, here’s a list of the most common barriers that prevent us from achieving our goals.
- Frequent snacking
- Eating quickly
- Overeating or mindless eating
- Skipping meals
- Making excuses
- “I will start tomorrow” mentality.
- Lack of self-motivation
- Spending extended periods sitting.
- Time management
Underlying Causes and Overcoming Bad Habits
The first step to curing a bad habit is awareness. Next, you’ll need to connect it to a trigger and find the underlying causes of your behavior before finding a way to overcome it.
When you notice yourself doing the thing you want to change, identify the trigger. For instance, why are you snacking? Is it the time of day, or did something happen to make you reach for a snack?
After finding the trigger, ask yourself: What is causing this behavior? Are you bored? Did you disagree with your colleague?
Finding the underlying reason for your behavior can help direct willpower and fight the repetition of that habit head-on.
Once you’ve identified the habit, trigger, cause, and consequences, you can brainstorm practical solutions and highlight positive results.
Remember to write everything down. The process of writing it all down aligns awareness of why you behave a particular way with the consequences of your actions. As a result, it’s easier to focus on what to do about it.
Below is an example of how to write down your habits to find the cause and a solution:
Bad habit: Eating take out often.
Trigger: Hunger late in the evening.
Root cause: Not planning meals.
Consequences: Weight gain and spending too much money.
Solution: Plan most meals a week in advance and do the necessary shopping.
Result: Slimmer waistline and saving money.
Lastly, have an action plan ready for moments of weakness. So, if you do order take out, then order a preplanned option.
Ways to Identify Trends: Good Habits
Identifying good behaviors is much easier than the bad ones. A good habit usually gives you the results you want from a specific aspect of your life.
Let’s say you don’t feel stressed before going to bed. Think of habits that could be behind your calm mind. Do you feel relaxed because you meditate before bed? Then meditation is a good habit.
Tips for Developing Good Habits
Where overcoming unhealthy behavior takes awareness, developing healthy habits takes time and diligence. Here are some simple tips to help you make lasting changes:
- Make many small changes instead of one big one. Making a change that’s too big is setting yourself up for failure and increases the likelihood of falling back into old patterns.
- Write down the healthy habits you want to develop and place it where you can see every day. You can also set daily alarms on your phone to remind you of your goals.
- Have a plan of action. Plan how you will implement changes and what you’ll do in a moment of weakness.
- Give yourself time. It takes about 66 days for a new habit to form, so don’t give up too soon.
- Get support. If someone is developing healthy habits with you, you can help each other stay motivated.
Everyone has some bad habit or another. What’s important is that you recognize behaviors before they become increasingly difficult to fix. Above all, make use of technology like fitness trackers, or wearable health monitors to help you identify trends and get support when necessary to help you live your best life.
Have any tips for overcoming bad habits or building good ones? Tell us in the comment section below!