Developing healthy habits is a bonus for couples contemplating pregnancy. Current wisdom indicates that it takes up to 30 days to develop a new habit and keep it as part of a lifestyle. Making new habits and breaking old ones can take time, especially those which have been established for many years. Many couples are willing to do whatever is necessary to ensure the health of both mother and baby, so making the effort to change unhealthy habits for healthy ones is a big step in the right direction.
One Step At A Time
It is important to remember that taking on too many changes at one time can become overwhelming and discouraging. An ambitious plan to quit smoking, stop drinking, reconstruct eating habits and incorporate exercise can stop people before they get started. By changing the habit that will boost confidence the most, motivation to keep going is increased. For instance, pick the most difficult habit to break and begin working on that first. When that habit has been overcome, it gives the impetus to take on the rest.
I Know I Can, I Know I Can....
Set the stage for success by believing you can change the one thing you've chosen to work on. Create a time frame to complete the goal and make a promise to yourself to succeed. Break the process down into "doable" chunks - for instance, if the goal is to stop smoking, then begin by cutting back on the number of cigarettes smoked per day, perhaps eliminate the after-meal cigarette and coffee. Then go to buying fewer packs, etc., until the habit is broken and success is in hand. Confront the fears that may loom in the mind and instead picture the end result.
Get all the help and support you need from those who will stand alongside you. Sometimes others can help keep the strength up until personal pride in accomplishment takes over. By being positive and finding role models who inspire, the healthy mindset can be established and then the next challenge can be taken on.
Writing goals down and keeping them where they can be seen helps to keep the purpose in sight. Rather than talking about it, do it. Instead of saying, "I'll exercise three times a week", get out there and take a walk with a friend. Remove temptation rather than trying to fight it. If drinking is problematic and pregnancy is the goal, then stop keeping wine in the house. Again, ask for help if needed.
And, don't forget the rewards. Acknowledging small victories by doing something healthy and uplifting builds the confidence to keep moving forward in the process of preparing for pregnancy. Lunch with friends, a visit to the local day spa or some new music all help to reinforce the good habits being built. Before long, just knowing that positive changes are being made are enough to keep motivated toward a healthy lifestyle and ultimately, a healthy pregnancy.
Find out more about what you can do to ensure a healthy pregnancy in our pregnancy forum.