May 15, 2024
Mental Health | Wellness

You have probably seen or heard lots of different suggestions on what to do if you are feeling down, depressed or anxious. I.e. “go outside”, “exercise”, “journal”, etc. It can be frustrating when we know the things to do, however, we just can’t seem to do them. Or we struggle to do them consistently. If you have ever found yourself feeling frustrated for “falling off” of a healthy habit, this is for you! 


First- Identify the healthy habit you are wanting to start.

Make sure it is small, measurable, and reasonable. 


Second- Identify why this habit is important to you.

Make sure your answer to this is personal and bonus points if you can identify what value it is aligned with. Try to avoid your reason being “because it is good for you” or “because someone told me to”. Yes, these can be the initial reasons, however, if the only reason we are doing something is because we “should” we are not likely to stick with it. Try to dig deep and find a personal connection to this habit/action. For example, if your healthy habit is to journal daily 1 positive thing and 1 thing you struggled with from that day. You might connect this with your value of balance or value of gratitude. By connecting our habits with a value, we have more buy in to continue to engage in the healthy habit. Another option is to align your healthy habit with a larger goal you have. This could be exercising or training for a race.


Third- Identify what time of day you are most consistent.

For some of us, we are most consistent in the morning because we have a morning routine we engage in prior to work. If you have a more fluctuating or busy morning, you might find more consistency in your evening routine. Once you have identified the time of day you are most consistent, pair your new healthy habit with an already established routine. This could be when you take your vitamins or medicine, or when you wash your face in the evening before bed. 


Finally- Be realistic with yourself.

You are not going to engage in your healthy habit 100% of the time. It is important to remember you are human. If you are too black and white, you will not be successful. If you miss a day, give yourself grace and re-commit for the next day. If we beat ourselves up for missing a day and give up, we are going to stay stuck. 


Remember, building habits take time. The more you connect and align with your habits, the easier it is to stick with it. Don’t forget you can always go back to the drawing board. If a habit is not working for you, come back to this and try again. You may have picked something too big or not aligned fully with your values. Start small, stay mindful, and you will succeed!




Amy Narusas, LCSW is drawn to helping clients process difficult events, find their meaning in life, heal from past experiences, and cope with anxiety, depression, and life transitions. She has a specialization in substance use and mental health and is trained in Cognitive Behavioral TherapyAcceptance and Commitment Therapy, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy.


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