It is estimated that our habits make up about 45 percent of our behaviors. Therefore as part of our Successful Aging ethos at Acacia Creek Retirement Community, it is important to know if our habits are in fact best practices for our optimal health and wellbeing. To determine this, we can examine how we are affected by our habits and see if we might want to make better choices.
For instance, creating the habit of brushing and flossing our teeth every night leaves our mouth feeling clean and supports our oral health. If we stop practicing that habit, in a short time we would notice an unclean feeling in our mouth, and eventually, our oral health would suffer. If we had a habit of doing stretch exercises every day and stopped doing them, we would notice stiffness and maybe pain in our joints and muscles. Eventually, this would affect our physical health. When we take the time to look, we can see the cause and effect of our physical habits, and this will help us choose habits that will best support our overall health.
We also have habitual ways of thinking that effect our overall happiness levels. Practicing gratitude, even when things aren’t going our way, is a habit that improves our resilience and increases our happiness levels. Believing in ourselves to perform a task or an activity we haven’t done in years is a habit that supports our empowerment and gives us a healthy sense of wellbeing. Conversely, not noticing and appreciating all that we have is a habit that robs us of joy. Choosing to create overall healthy habits will raise our happiness levels and put us on the road to healthy longevity.
For most of us, it takes a big event that stops us in our tracks before we look at the role our habits play in creating our life’s satisfaction. This includes examining how our thought patterns impact us. After all, our thinking and beliefs determine what we expect of ourselves and what we expect of others. This determines our attitude. It is the expectations and attitudes we hold that determine how we behave. We’re not usually aware how our habitual thought patterns can impact us. For instance, if there are things that happen to use that we don’t enjoy, it’s good to identify our habits that perpetuate undesired outcomes. An example of this is someone who claims they always get bad service at restaurants. They do not see how their habitual thinking and communication habits play a role in creating the bad service. So, they expect service to be bad and that’s what the outcome ends up.
Through our thoughts and actions, we can make small daily choices that will promote optimal health physically, intellectually, socially, emotionally, and spiritually. When we continually do this, we build healthy habits. Spending time with people who support us with their words and actions makes it easier to do this. If your environment makes your bad habits easier and good habits harder, improving your environment will enable you to make better choices; then you can improve your outcomes.
Healthy habits, both physical and in our thinking, make it easier to create stability and ease in our life, regardless of what is happening around us. Start by noticing which habits make you feel good and which ones might need to be updated. Keep taking those small steps and soon you will see the changes you desire.
Acacia Creek Successful Aging Coach