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Good Habits are More Important than You Might Think!

How to incorporate more of them in 2023

Overwhelming evidence shows that it’s healthy lifestyle choices like diet, exercise and attitude that play the biggest part in determining how long you’ll live and how well you’ll age. Yet, several studies by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) show that adherence to healthy lifestyle habits is very low in the U.S., and unfortunately Americans don’t live as long as people in most other high-income countries.

It’s important to understand that adopting new healthy habits is a process, but it can be easier than you think. Incorporating small changes in key areas can improve your chances of maintaining optimal health now and in later life. Who doesn’t want that? With the right mindset and a supportive community, you’re on your way to incorporating good habits and reaching health goals in 2023 and beyond.

How to start a new healthy habit — make it easy on yourself by understanding the WHY

When you’re in the early stages and just starting to think about developing new habits, you must understand and embrace the WHY. For example, your WHY might be that you want to stay independent for longer and be active and healthy for years to come. Research tells you that by maintaining healthier habits, you have a better chance at achieving that.

The National Institutes of Health shares that both women and men who by age 50 have adopted the following five key healthy habits were estimated to live healthier and longer — nearly 10 years more — than those who did not. Learning and incorporating new habits can be tough, but focusing on the “WHY” — is an important part of the process.

The five low-risk lifestyle or regular healthy habits in the NIH study included the following:

  1. Maintaining a healthy eating pattern (getting the daily recommended amounts of vegetables, fruit, nuts, whole grains, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and omega-3 fatty acids and limiting red and processed meats, beverages with added sugar, trans fat and sodium)
  2. Not smoking
  3. Getting at least 3.5 hours of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week
  4. Drinking only moderate amounts of alcohol (one drink or less per day for women or two drinks or less per day for men)
  5. Maintaining a normal weight (body mass index between 18.5 and 24.9)

New habit formation theory, the “habit loop”

Learning and incorporating a new habit can be a slow process, but with dedication it will soon become your new routine. According to Charles Duhigg the author of “The Power of Habit,” “Change might not be fast and it isn’t always easy, but with time and effort, almost any habit can be reshaped.”

In his book, Duhigg explains that every new habit starts as a "habit loop," which is a three-part process. The first part is the “cue” and it tells your brain to go into automatic mode and let the behavior unfold. Next there's the routine part, which is the behavior itself. The third part is the reward — which is why your brain wants to keep performing this new “habit” — and that closes the "habit loop." Understanding the process helps you create, build and maintain healthy habits now and in the future. It’s also a reminder to reward yourself. A habit starts slowly and builds over time and with a lot of repetition and reward.

How to build a long-term habit — together

Forming healthy habits with other people can be rewarding for everyone — and way more motivating. When healthy habits are more fun, they’re more likely to stick around for the long term. At a senior living community like The Village at Providence Point–A National Lutheran Community, the lifestyle programming will be centered on a ConnectedLiving philosophy. This means residents will be able to stay more active and engaged with a full calendar of fulfilling events, top-of-the-line amenities and community programming — together.

Healthy community programming at The Village at Providence Point will focus on the seven key dimensions of wellness. Residents will find it easier to take advantage of opportunities for personal growth and healthier habits when surrounded by others with similar interests. For example, the future state-of-the-art fitness center at The Village at Providence Point will provide a variety of fitness classes like yoga and Tai Chi, plus an indoor aquatics center to make it easy for residents to stay fit. With an active and supportive fitness community and friends to work out with, it’s easier to stay focused on healthier habits.

Another example of choosing healthier habits is dining with friends at a retirement community. It’s well documented that people make healthier choices when they eat together — and that means more vegetables, fruits, nuts and whole grains. Dining is also way more fun when you don’t have to cook or prepare meals three times a day. At The Village at Providence Point, residents will be able to choose from different restaurants, fresh menus and health conscious options. It will be easier to establish sensible eating habits and make healthier choices.

Staying on course with better habits in 2023

Any long-term habit change is going to take time and dedication. It’s important to keep focused on the “WHY” part of the “habit loop” process, so you’ll be more prepared to stay the course. With a supportive community environment and with like-minded people sharing similar goals, it’s easier to stay motivated — and maintain the loop of healthy habits. There will be ups and downs, but with time and effort any habit can be reformed or created.

Knowing that you’re capable of living your best life for many years to come is the reward for developing new healthy habits. You will also start to feel happier, healthier and you might just start to enjoy the kale smoothies. There are so many opportunities to look forward to in retirement at The Village at Providence Point. If you’re interested in learning more about all the finer details, the luxurious residences and the state-of-the-art amenities we’re putting in place at The Village at Providence Point, call us at (443) 782-3050 or contact us online at to schedule your appointment or tour!

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