Dr. Aaron's Blog

3 AMAZING Tips for Creating New Habits!

August 18, 2015 All, Healthy Eating, Naturopathic Medicine, Nutrition by Aaron Van Gaver

Much of my practice is centered on addiction and mental health.  I spend time with patients struggling with substance abuse, coming along side of them to facilitate overcoming a maladaptive behavior.   In a sense working with addiction is habit breaking. On the flip side there are some behaviors that we want to introduce and make habits.  Drinking more water, falling asleep at a particular time, and regularly going to the gym are all examples of healthy habits we wish to adopt. Unfortunately we are often unsuccessful.

Drinking more water is something I encourage the majority of my patients to do.  It seems so simple, but proves quite difficult – Even for me! When seeing multiple patients in a row I often have to remind myself to take a couple sips of H2O.   Check out my tips for drinking more water. These can easily be applied to other behaviours you wish to make habits.


  1. Make it easy for yourself

With the water example, get yourself a water bottle you like and aim to drink two fills throughout the day.  This eliminates the need to count how many cups and is better for the environment as you are not relying on paper cups.

  1. Start slow and simple

Don’t try and double or triple your water intake over night.  Instead, think of ways you can introduce it on a daily basis that you will be able to make habitual.  For example, if you already drink water with your meals, have one with your coffee break.   Or if you are a desk worker, have your water bottle sitting on your desk and sip it throughout the day.  If you are a constant coffee drinker (how can I blame you, coffee can be delicious!), and drink several cups a day, exchange one or two cups for water.

  1. Stay consistent

This is very important! Rather than deciding you are immediately going to start drinking 2-3L of water a day, find an amount you know you can stick to every day. This also applies to other habits, like exercising each day. Don’t run an hour one day and then none the next. Commit to something doable that you can commit to daily.

Hope that gives any of you trying to create a habit a starting point! If you are trying to increase water intake, check out the mayo clinic water recommendations for the ideal daily amounts for men and women.

If exercise is something you are having a hard time fitting into your daily schedule, try applying some of these tips to make it a habit!