Top Ten Tips for Creating New Healthy Habits
Setting and achieving goals starts with creating a healthy new habit for yourself. It sounds difficult, but the success lies in really setting your intentions, visualising them and then taking the steps to reach your goals. We have compiled a list of ten tips that will help you create new and healthy habits and more importantly maintain them.
Motivation plays a great part in forming new habits. You have to want to change and be determined to lead yourself into a healthier lifestyle. Avoid starting during difficult periods of your life such as marital or financial difficulties – it would be far too much of a distraction!
- Track your Lifestyle Habits
Are you aware of how physically inactive you are or do you know how many grams of saturated fat you have consumed today? By keeping a log each day this will show you the patterns that contribute towards your current bad habits. It will help you figure out where you might be able to make a healthier substitution and create a plan of action going forward. To have something written down in black and white is also a great motivation booster!
- Start Simply
Forming healthy habits doesn’t happen overnight and so don’t try to completely change your life in one day. You can dream big but you should start small. For example, rather than saying you are going to wake up an hour earlier everyday, start with fifteen minutes and slowly build on this. Even small changes make a difference!
- Stick with your habit for 30 days
Three to four weeks is all the time you need to make a habit become automatic. This is the hardest part, afterward, it becomes a lot easier to sustain. Try your new habit for at least 30 days and then determine if you want to keep it around.
- Stay Consistent
The more consistent your habit the easier it will be to stick to. If you want to start exercising, for example, try going at the same time, to the same place for 30 days. When cues like time of day, place and circumstances are the same in each case it is easier to continue.
- Manage Trigger Events
There are certain things in people’s lives that cause them to do things without even thinking. For example, being tired after a long day of work may trigger you to think twice about doing your Pilates class you had planned that evening. What triggers one person may not trigger another. The key is to find out what your triggers are and then plan ways to avoid or cope with them.
- Set a goal and reward yourself
Decide what you want to achieve – less fat or more strength for example and then set a date by which you will reach your goal. Then write this on a piece of paper and place it somewhere you will see it multiple times a day. On the fridge is always a good place!
For example, if you have stuck to your fitness plan for one month then you definitely deserve a reward. You should treat yourself to a new pair of shoes, a trip to the cinema or even some time to read a good book. Select smaller rewards for short-term goals and larger rewards for long-term goals.
- Tell Someone
Sharing your journey with a friend, neighbor, mum, husband or sister will give you accountability. It will also provide you with a source of encouragement (hopefully!). You could consider starting a blog about your journey or sharing the process with your close friends on Facebook.
- Vary Your Exercise
It is much easier to fit exercise into your daily routine if you enjoy doing it! By doing a variety of different activities, you’re less likely to get bored and will start to look forward to it each day. It also means that regardless of the weather outside you will always have some form of exercise you can do! (Sorry, taken away another classic excuse!)
- The Visibility Method
Much of your behavior is a response to what is around you – according to the entrepreneur, James Clear. The basic principle of ‘The Visibility method’ is if you keep a box of chocolates on show on your kitchen counter then you are much more likely to eat them rather than if they were in a cupboard. So, stop doing this! Make things visible that you want to do. For example, keep your vitamins on top of the fridge or have a big bottle of water on your desk at work.
If you want to read more specifically about how to form good exercise habits and make them stick we would highly recommend taking some time to read: The 38 Best Methods of Successful Exercisers. By Leo Babauta.