02 Sep Simple Tips to Make Your Healthy Habits Stick
Photo Credit: www.ClaraWangPhotography.com
September always feels like a mini-January. The summer is over, the kids are back to school or off to college, the house is a bit quieter. You can finally start focusing on yourself and your healthy habits!
Studies have proven that following a healthy lifestyle will improve your quality of life, both physically and mentally. Your healthy lifestyle will also support living a better life for the long-term, where you are active and able to travel, participate in sports like pickleball or golf, and feel good while doing them, regardless of your age!
Sometimes healthy habits like eating clean or exercising regularly can seem intimidating at first. To break through the intimidation, you often start by going all in at 100%! After a few days of not seeing massive changes (that need for immediate gratification!), your excuses start to become louder than your motivation. You set yourself up on a never-ending cycle of throwing in the towel or slashing the tires for the day, with the intention that “I’ll start again on Monday!”
Rather than getting stuck in that perpetual cycle of starting and stopping, and feeling frustrated with yourself, here are some tips to create new healthy habits that stick!
Start Small. My motto is: “Baby steps lead to long-term success.” This is so true when developing new habits: Start small! Don’t try to overhaul your entire lifestyle overnight. It’s overwhelming and unsustainable in the long term. Instead, focus on making one small change at a time. For example, if you’re trying to eat healthier, start by adding one extra serving of fruits or vegetables each day, then increase it to one more serving each meal, and keep going until you hit 8-10 each day. Once that becomes part of your daily routine, pick another area to change slowly, such as cutting back on sugar or eating more whole foods. It’s the actions that you do consistently that will result in changes, so don’t let one indulgence or slip-up derail your efforts!
Plan ahead. “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” This statement by Ben Franklin could not be truer when it comes to healthy food and lifestyle choices. Take time to plan your meals, exercise and other healthy activities in advance. For example, if you want to exercise, lay out your gym clothes the night before so you’re more motivated to put them on in the morning and note your exercise in your calendar. If you want to eat healthier, stock your fridge with healthy foods at eye level. When you know you don’t have time to cook dinner, meal prep over the weekend or make extras the night before. Have veggies and fruits cup up so you have easy grab and go meals at the ready. And, don’t over complicate things! A bagged salad (without the dressing!!) plus an organic rotisserie chicken is a great option for those busy nights when you’re pressed for time. Check out my IG feed or website for simple salad dressing inspiration!
Look beyond the scale. Sometimes, you give up on your healthy habits because it feels like you aren’t progressing. To keep track, write down your progress in a journal to reflect on it. And, stop focusing only on the number on the scale. The first step in losing weight sustainably is getting healthier, and that may not be reflected on the scale. Think through and record your non-scale victories like: More energy, more regular bowel movements, less brain fog, more restful sleep and less belly bloat. Tracking your positive results and acknowledging yourself for your hard work, will not only make you feel better about what you’ve already done, but it will also motivate you to continue moving forward. Writing down your goals also holds you more accountable. If you want to declare your goals to someone other than yourself to be more accountable, hit reply and let me know. I’ll follow-up with you in 30 days to see how you are doing!
Reward yourself for progress. Unfortunately, we often think of rewards in the way of special food or drinks! Instead, find fun and rewarding ways to acknowledge and reward yourself for your progress, like booking a mani/pedi, a massage or trying a new fitness class or healthy cooking class you’ve been thinking about. A great way to practice your new healthy habits is to schedule them with friends, such as going on a walk with your friends, doing a fitness class or hike together or even signing up for a fun cooking class. New habits are always easier when you do them with a friend. It also helps to keep you accountable!
Be consistent. You will create a new routine much more quickly if you do it consistently, like every day. However, if life gets in the way, don’t punish yourself for falling off track. If you miss a day or two, just acknowledge what happened and move on – continuing where you left off. Don’t undo all of your progress and give up.
If you have some less supportive habits you’d like to eliminate, the first step is to identify the habits and what triggers you to do them. Is it stress, a lack of time, or is there another underlying issue causing these habits? All habits have a purpose, even the less supportive ones. Often, they are coping mechanisms for something. Once you identify the habits, the next step is to figure out the why, so you can make a plan to address it.
One of the most challenging things about developing new habits is getting started. Motivating yourself to change your routine can be difficult, especially if you’re trying to adopt a healthy habit like exercising or eating better.
Identify your goals, and then take small steps towards your goal(s) daily to pave a path to get there in a steady and sustainable way.
Hit reply to declare the first goal you want to make progress on and I’ll help you stay accountable!