7 Healthy Habits to Cultivate…Slowly

by Kelvin Belfon

healthy-habits-cultivate-grow

 

The older I get, the faster time seems to just fly away. It was only 10 weeks ago when I began to make plans for the upcoming year. I could not wait! Now it’s the middle of February with only 10 months in the year left. Ouch!

The same is true of my New Years resolutions. These commitments seem to just fly away. Each year I make my typical list…again: Spend more time with the family, pray more, gain weight (yeah, I know, but it’s true), become debt free, and so on.

Then the struggle to stay consistent usually begins around this time of year – February. The enthusiasm starts to slow down and eventually the well-intended promises never make it to the finish line.

The reality is that only 8% of people are successful at achieving their resolutions. Despite this fact, I keep making them, each year. Any accomplishment is better than a life without aspirations, I reasoned.

But over the last 2 years, I’ve made small changes. Instead of resolutions, I’ve decided to focus on cultivating healthy habits to change my lifestyle. The following are 7 habits I’ve been working on slowly.

7 Healthy Habits

Becoming an early riser. I’ve always been a nighthawk, consistently staying up past midnight. And that worked for most of my life. But now, the combination of longer workdays and caring for my little ones have left me exhausted at nights. The switch to rising early was a tough shift. I love sleeping in. But morning is the time when I can be most productive.

Embracing minimalism. In the last 13 years, I’ve accumulated quite a bit of material possessions. The majority has been gifted from my wedding; but later I acquired more on my own every time we relocated. It seems like there has always been a need to customize the new space with new things.

My decision to embrace a minimalist lifestyle has helped create more space, reduced time spent cleaning and caring for things, made our home eco-friendly, and minimized potential debt. But creating room for family and other valuable relationships has been the biggest benefit. In this area, I continue to grow.

Improving my health. I’ve become careless with my diet since moving to America. It’s been more processed foods instead of the normal raw fruits and vegetables. Junk food was cheaper and more convenient. In addition, my exercising routine was non-existent. Returning to a healthy habit of caring for my body was and continues to be a challenge. But I’m taking baby steps like walking more, jogging, and eating raw foods.

Fostering a lifelong learning passion. I had a library with over 5,000 books! But since graduate school, I began to read less, sometimes spending more precious time in front of that rectangular box – the television – than I ought to. Personal development doesn’t just happen by osmosis. So I’ve regained my commitment to reading regularly, exposing myself to new thoughts and ideas.

Establishing relationship boundaries. In the past, I lacked boundaries in my relationships. Because I love to please, I used to have a hard time saying no and letting people know how I really felt. As a result, this was perceived as weakness. I allowed people to control and manipulate my life. It was toxic.

Ending certain relationships, although necessary, was pretty painful. Even so, establishing boundaries by saying no was extremely liberating. I even saw other benefits, such as the improvement of my physical health.

Confronting fears. I’ve never really mastered the English language. So I’ve really feared the idea of starting a blog and going public with my writing. The same was true about other major decisions like relocating, starting a new job slightly outside of the career I’d been used to, and, of course, ending toxic relationships. Fear is paralyzing! But I’m stepping out little by little to confront the unknown.

Practicing Contentment. I must admit, I keep wanting just a little more each week, each month and each year. My wants are typical like a house, car, clothing, electronics, etc. The problem is that no one’s ever truly satisfied once we start going past the basics. We want the best, biggest and the latest.

The habit of contentment is learning that more doesn’t equate happiness. It’s accepting yourself, avoiding meaningless comparisons with others, and living a life of gratitude that brings fulfillment. Sounds good, but I struggle to practice everyday.

Cultivate with the right motivation

The above habits are not exhaustive.

They are strategies you take along your journey, not the final destination. Becoming an early riser is not the goal. On the contrary, the goal is to give the most productive hours of the day to achieving those things in life that are musts.

Moreover, becoming health conscious is more than loosing weight. The greater motivation is to avoid preventable diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart attacks. This enables us to be around a little longer for our loved ones.

…Slowly 

When making resolutions, I used to give myself timetables. But the reality is, to make a habit become a lifestyle requires lots of time. I may need even a few years to get there.

We need time to cultivate new habits, and even more, to unlearn old ones. So lets give ourselves permission to go slow, fail, and restart again…all without condemnation, until we achieve what we desire to be.

What healthy habits are you cultivating in your life?

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to going uncomplicated, comment below or join me on Facebook.

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29 thoughts on “7 Healthy Habits to Cultivate…Slowly

  1. Yvette Bishop says:

    Awesome read my brother. Makes a lot of sense.

  2. I so resonate with the positive habits you chosen, Kelvin. Especially setting reasonable boundaries. I’m going to be working more with that one this year.

  3. Zelma Dodd says:

    Good writing, good content and thought provoking

  4. Ann says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Kevin. We can all learn from one another.
    I’ve worked on relationship boundaries in the past year. It’s painful at first, but now I truly can see that I am much healthier, mentally and physically. Good luck in your journey.

    • Kelvin Belfon says:

      Hi Ann! I’m glad you made the tough decision to set boundaries in your relationships. It’s always painful but necessary. Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. Penny says:

    Thanks for keeping it real. Thank you for being someone that is just like the rest of us. I’m enjoying your blog.

  6. Liz Smith says:

    You have put together a truly thoughtful list Kelvin!

    You have hit the nail on the head about giving yourself time to cultivate new habits. The unpredictability of parenting a young family, can sometimes turn your best intentions upside down. I admire your commitment to the journey 🙂

    • Kelvin Belfon says:

      Thank you Liz! I was doing pretty good with my first 2 children. But the birth of our twins became a game charger in the parenting process. Now everything takes a super long time. I wouldn’t have it any other way though…love my kiddos.

  7. Gillian Claudia Johnson-Baptiste says:

    So many people, including myself, can relate to this post. One change in habit I am finding to be extremely liberating is not bothering too much about what people think about my personal choices. Even relatives can put a lot of pressure on you, to the point of control. Thanks for your usual wise counsel and God bless you in you own effort to cultivate healthier habits!

    • Kelvin Belfon says:

      Yes Gillian, you make an great observation. It’s not an easy task but liberating when we can live our lives without thinking too much about what others think. I have a tendency to care and as such have been controlled. It’s taken me decades to not care. Thanks for raising this subject.

  8. Dan Holzinger says:

    All great ideas I like the plan to keep improving a little all your life.

  9. Sharon says:

    I like the idea of cultivating healthy habits slowly. it makes it a lot more doable. I have been working on setting boundaries, particularly at work. Lots and lots of baby steps.

  10. Terri says:

    I’m eating a lot better, and just recently cut out coffee, and seem to be handling it alright! You’re right, you have to take it slow and it can take up to three weeks to form a habit, so you need to be patient and loving with yourself.

    • Kelvin Belfon says:

      Good for you Terri! You are always challenging yourself to do better. It’s one thing I like about your. And yes, in the process of changing we must be patient with ourselves. It’s easy for self condemnation and hatred to set in if results are not immediate.

  11. Kellyann says:

    As always really awesome ideas…I missed reading your posts so I am catching up @ 2am 🙂 but developing healthy habits are great ways in living a fulfill balance lifestyle. For me,it’s been positive…speaking words that will be beneficial to me and my family. Also trading ashes for beauty….letting go of things that have me bound and enjoying the beautiful gifts God has for me today. Eating clean & exercising…a journey I started last October with positive results. Most important fostering meaningful relationships first with our Heavenly father, family, and friends. Instead of spending quality time on fb I chose to spend it with my children…always a blessing.

    • Kelvin Belfon says:

      Thanks Kellyann! 2am…ouch 🙂
      I’m glad you started eating well and exercising. We need to care for our body! It will thank us with a longer life. And yes…glad you are fostering those especial relationships in your life. Super proud of you! Blessings.

  12. Dinah says:

    God bless you, Ps Kelvin. May He continue to use you to His Glory. We are learning a lot from you. You always hit the nail right on the head.

    May God grant us all the needed strength in this journey. More blessings to you and your family

    • Kelvin Belfon says:

      Thank you Dinah! So good to hear from you, do pray all is well. Yes, we are all on a journey. Blessings on you and your family as well…especially on your twin girls.

  13. Tammy Williams says:

    Thank you for such wonderful and deep teachings Bro Belfon. I have learned so much from you in just a short time since I was given your website. I am striving to rid my life of “toxic anything” — people, places and “stuff.” Never did I realize how many things were crowding my life and making it feel too heavy! Thank you for following God’s leading to bring us His thoughts on these matters.

    • Kelvin Belfon says:

      Thank you Tammy!
      I’m glad you are on the simplicity journey. Life is a little easier when we carry less baggage whether it’s things, places, negative emotions, relationships, etc. Less distractions means more time to focus on God and the things that are priority in his kingdom.
      Thank you again for your kind words and welcome to the Going Uncomplicated community!

  14. Sharon Conway says:

    This was very inspirational. As I age we need adult encouragement that is uplifting.

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