Making Healthy Habits Stick
These quotes can help us consider how our behavior affects our thinking:
- “We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.” – John Dryden
- “We are what we repeatedly do. Success is not an action but a habit.” – Aristotle
Like the quotes above, which were written on paper, improving your health is simple: Eat right and exercise to lose weight. Get more sleep to improve your mood and productivity. Balance work and personal life to minimize stress.
Putting it into practice, however, can be much more difficult. Most of the time we know what to do; we just don’t know how to make and sustain those changes.
Developing and maintaining habits that align with your health goals can help you on your journey to better health. Habits keep you in in your intended direction. Even if you lose your direction due to some unavoidable life events, these habits (sometimes referred to as core habits or anchor habits) will bring you back to your original course.
It is important to define your core habits. Find little processes or actions you can perform every day that will move you toward your health goal. These can include such things as: regular physical activity, eating breakfast, getting consistent sleep or making “to-do” lists. These are subjective and should reflect what best lines up with your health goals.
Using a health coach can help you to identify and define your health goals if you are having difficulty on your own. Make a list of your core habits and keep it in a prominent place for continual reference.
Sometimes people try to rely on willpower alone to change habits. This may prove to be very difficult. Many times the key to developing new habits is to minimize the obstacles on the path to that behavior change. When you decide to develop a new habit, link it with a daily event, situation or setting in order to anchor it for consistency. It takes time for habits to become automatic, so be patient.
Could changes in these areas help make your new habits stick?
Daily Schedule: Could a consistent schedule for meals, exercise, and/or bedtimes help?
Reminders: How might setting alarms, using a to-do list, or blocking off time for activities make things easier?
Surroundings: What changes could you make to your kitchen, workout space or other areas of your physical environment?
Support: Who do you have on your team for support?
Define your goals, align your healthy habits and set yourself up for success.
By Jeremy Butterfield, LiveNOW Health Coach