Creating Healthy Habits for Summer – Your Guide for Building Healthy Habits


  • Healthy habits are behaviors that improve our physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
  • Developing healthy habits decreases the appearance of risk factors.
  • To build healthy habits, be knowledgeable in using SMART goals. 

Let’s talk about building healthy habits. It is essential because it improves your physical health, your brain health, and your overall well-being. Turning down those morning doughnuts, getting to bed at a reasonable hour, and changing your comfortable (but unhealthy) daily routine can be difficult. The summer sun can be a source of energy that can help motivate you to change. Developing healthy habits can be rewarding. We hope that these hacks can help you make your ideal future habits your habits of today. We will discuss what healthy habits are and how to create healthy habits. We’ll also tell you what specific habits you can change, and why it is important to build healthy habits.

What are healthy habits?

A habit is any behavior or string of behaviors that have become automatic. It might even happen without our awareness. Habits can be as simple as washing dishes after dinner. It can also be as complex as a 45-minute commute home from work. A healthy habit is any behavior that helps improve your physical, emotional, or mental health. While eventually any habit can become automatic, the habit formation process requires hard work and intentional effort. Creating healthy habits will have a direct connection to your environment. It will also change your upbringing, and your personality. Healthy habits can involve goals about eating and sleeping. It can also help you get enough exercise, reduce your stress and drink more water. Summer is a great time to introduce new healthy habits into your life. This is true for both you and your family. We will provide you some tips about creating healthy habits over the summer.

How do you develop healthy habits?

Human beings are creatures of habit. This means that for many of us, habit building comes naturally. For others, changing their habits may be a bit more difficult. However, no matter who you are, making adjustments to your routines can have meaningful effects on your health. How do you adapt your brain to getting used to new healthy habits? One of the life hacks for building new habits that you can try is using SMART goals. A SMART goal is a specific type of goal. It can be described as Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. SMART goals are a great way to stay on track. This is especially true with changing health habits. It is also a useful way to measure progress. You can use the SMART goal technique to build any type of health goal. If you are looking to increase water consumption you need to decide on a couple of things. For example, how much water do you want to consume? When you plan to drink it throughout your day, make sure it is a reasonable amount. You should also make sure that it aligns with your broader health goals. Want to change your bad habits around exercise? Pick a specific type of exercise that makes sense for your level of fitness. You must also establish the duration of time you will exercise for. You will need to decide what time of day you will exercise and what type of exercise is relevant to your interests.

What are examples of summertime habits to change?

Water
With the summer sun beating down, drinking more water becomes very important. Water makes up 60% of the human body. This makes water consumption essential for good health. When you perspire, your body is regulating your internal systems like digestion and temperature. Especially in the warmer months, staying hydrated is very important. This is to help your body control your temperature. Water consumption also influences your ability to think. This can impact productivity and mood. Drinking more water helps keep your brain and your body in balance. Studies suggest drinking a minimum of 15.5 cups of water for men and 11.5 cups of water for women each day. Replenishing your body’s water not only helps you protect your tissues and joints. It also gets rid of waste and regulates body temperature. Try picking a few times each day where you can check-in. You can set a reminder with yourself on how much water you are drinking.

Exercise

When working out in the summertime, you want to be extra mindful of the hot temperature. Hotter temperatures when exercising could lead to dehydration and extra muscle fatigue. Wearing lighter clothing and staying hydrated, can all help you keep your summertime exercise habit going. It is also a good idea to find some cool shade to exercise in. Making exercise a priority will help improve your health in the long run. Increased exercise has been shown to improve the overall quality of life. Exercise has also been connected to important health outcomes like improved mood, higher energy levels, and better sleep. It also helps in controlling weight and decreasing the risk for health conditions and diseases. Summer is a great time to work on boosting the amount of exercise you do. This is a great healthy habit to create!

Diet

Diet is important for your health. This is true all year round. However, summertime can be a great opportunity to feel motivated! You can use it to make healthy changes to your diet. One tip is to keep an eye on your portions. Make sure to fill up on healthy foods like fruits and veggies. Incorporating water-dense foods like cucumbers, watermelon, and strawberries into your summertime diet is also a good idea! It will keep you healthy and quench your thirst. Another food to consider as a new summertime habit is dates.  Increasing the consumption of dates can increase your fiber. It can also help decrease your risk of developing chronic diseases. In fact, establishing healthy eating habits early on has been linked to better food choices in the future. Take advantage of the summer months to set goals around healthy eating! It will set you up for success during the rest of the year.

Sleep

Summer feels like the ideal time to be more social. You can also get more done and do more traveling. However, maintaining a regular sleep schedule is just as important as having fun and staying active. You must try to continue getting about 8 hours of sleep a night. This will keep you rested and healthy for those jam-packed summer days. Summer can also be a good time to catch up on sleep and get enough rest. You can also make a new habit around sleep hygiene.  Improving your sleep hygiene refers to adding bedtime routines and behaviors that can help promote sleep. For example, you must make sure to use your bed mainly for sleeping. You should also avoid screens at least an hour before trying to fall asleep. Getting enough sleep has a strong connection to reducing psychological distress. It can also help improve your overall mental health. A guaranteed healthy habit is getting enough sleep each night during the summer. This will benefit your physical and psychological health too!

Stress

Stress is normal. Did you know that even happy events can be considered stressful at times? However, stress has a negative impact on your health in the long run. Therefore, it is important to limit it when possible. Meditation is a great way to reduce stress. It can be built into your daily routine to be done anytime and anywhere. Getting outside and enjoying nature on a regular basis is also a great idea. It can be another way to take advantage of the summer weather. Studies have shown that being outdoors has a healthy impact on heart rate and blood pressure. It has also been proved to lower self-reported stress levels. Stress management and relaxation are important foundations for changing other health habits. Plan to use a few minutes each day this summer to practice breathing and meditation! You will be able to see the benefits for yourself. 

Why try to build healthy habits in the summer?

Building habits during the summer can be a great chance to hit reset. When a bad habit returns, you do not worry. Change is always possible! Summertime can be a great opportunity to focus on both mental and physical health. Positive health outcomes resulting from habit change can include decreasing your chances of developing a lot of risk factors. This includes obesity and diabetes. Eating well and exercising can help you manage your weight. It can also increase your energy level throughout the day. No one has perfect habits. There is also always room for change. Aim to increase your healthy habits! It can be a great goal to accomplish during the summer. Building a healthier habit will help us live longer and better.

A habit in motion will stay in motion. It might be difficult to change your unhealthy habits or create new ones. Keeping in mind this guide on habits is a great place to start. Pick one habit and decide on a SMART goal. This will help you to put it into action. Sooner or later you’ll see improvements in your health! Sticking with these changes will help you build new routines. Eventually, they will become automatic health habits. Even if you are busy, there are ways to create habits that will stick. Take some time to plan for healthy habits this summer. Make sure to find some that you will enjoy! They must also make you feel good in body and in mind.

Summary

Summertime is a great time of year to start creating healthy habits. Healthy habits are any regular behaviors that improve your health and well-being. You can set goals that help decrease your stress. It can also be about improving your diet and increasing your sleep. Building an exercise routine and drinking more water are all good ideas! Make sure to create specific, measureable, and personally relevant goals. This can help you maintain your new habits for longer. Taking action to improve your health habits can take time. However, summer is the perfect opportunity to increase motivation. Let’s go and set these new habits in motion!

Scientific Information

  • SMART Goal – A specific type of goal that uses an acronym to remember the different factors of goal setting. These factors include making goals Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. 

  • Psychological Distress – physical and mental symptoms that relate to various fluctuations in mood; some psychological distress is normal, while higher levels of psychological distress could indicate the presence of a mental disorder.

  • Stress Management – the act or practice of making choices in order to lessen the stress in one’s environment. 

  • Sleep Hygiene – perception where practices may or may not be conducive to sleep as well as a behavior that may prevent the onset of insomnia. 

Written by:

Eleanor Beale, MA

Clinical Psychology

Reviewed by:
Registered Dietitian
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