How to Use Downtime to Establish New Healthy Habits

We all want to build healthier habits, but few of us are willing to do what it takes to make them happen. A lack of time is no longer a good excuse, so it’s time to make things happen and establish those new healthy habits.

During a recent conversation with my husband, I expressed my desire to live a healthier lifestyle. While I’ve been consistently waking up early to work out on weekdays, I know I can do better at feeding my body more nourishing meals. If I was able to establish a workout habit during quarantine, I can do the same for a healthier diet as well.

Using the newfound downtime to establish new habits is a great way to make the most of this pandemic. If you’re hoping to come out better, healthier, or stronger at the end of the pandemic, some strategies can help you get there. Below are five tips to use your downtime to establish new healthy habits.

Identify and prioritize your needs

In my opinion, one of the reasons we fail to build healthy habits is because we try to do them all simultaneously. We want to create a habit to diet, workout, and meditate all in the same week, and it’s never going to happen. If you’re like me and have a long list of habits you want to establish, take the time to make a list and organize it in order of most to least important. Start by focusing on your top habit.

Make an action plan

While you don’t need a complete roadmap for your habit journey, you should at least cover your essentials. For me, creating a workout habit was tough during quarantine because I didn’t have the gym, I usually had access to. I had to get creative, so I researched the best at-home fitness apps, set a daily alarm to 4 a.m., and purchase the necessary equipment.

Set SMART goals

Setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely goals are crucial when it comes to establishing new habits. While it can be easy to overlook and skip this step, taking the time to do it can be the difference between commitment or quitting. For me, a 30-minute yoga session at 4:30 a.m. Monday through Friday met all the criteria for setting a SMART goal. Make sure your new habit does the same.

Keep track of your progress

Keeping track of your growth and improvement is a great way to see how far you’ve come. You can do this on a paper calendar by journaling your achievement for the day, using an app to record your progress, or sharing it with others on social media. The important thing here is to be able to have something to look back on and see how far you’ve come.

Celebrate your victories

We’re often raised to be humble and not gloat too much about our wins, but when it comes to establishing new goals, we need to celebrate. Use your tracker to look back and witness how much you’ve grown. I love doing this with my workout and seeing the number of workout days grow and grow. Taking the time to celebrate your wins serves as a great reminder of why you started your journey in the first place.