Are you tired of starting a new habit only to give up a few days later? In this article, I will share with you 5 simple hacks to make your habits stick and completely transform your life.
- Why it can be hard to stick to new habits
- How I got started with a healthier lifestyle
- The challenges I faced along the way
- How our identity and habits are connected
- 5 Hacks to make your habits stick
It feels exciting to know that with only a few tweaks to our routine we can make a big difference in our overall health and well-being.
However, most of us find it daunting to stick to new habits. There are several reasons why it can be so hard to stick to new habits that are beneficial to us:
- No immediate reward: Waking up earlier to go to the gym has more drawbacks and challenges than benefits in the beginning stages
- Unrealistic goals: Setting big goals and tasks can feel too overwhelming and may lead to procrastination
- Lack of planning: Not having a clear plan or structure for the new habit can make it difficult to incorporate into our established routine
- Lack of accountability: Without someone to hold us accountable, it can be easy to miss a day or to give up on the habit entirely.
- Lack of progress: If we don’t see progress in our new habit, it can be disheartening and make it difficult to stay motivated.
Understanding these challenges can help us create a plan to stick to these habits.
Throughout my highschool years, I was living a mostly sedentary lifestyle. I ate junk food and didn’t participate in many physical activities. I was always tired and felt drained from school work. I wasn’t interested in pursuing sports given my lack of energy.
However, I did often question why I was always feeling this tired given my age. While I wasn’t the most active teenager, I was an avid reader. I enjoyed mostly non-fiction books. One day, I picked up Dr. Oz’ book called ‘YOU: The Owner’s Manual’.
However, that book completely gave me a new perspective on health. I learned how nutrition impacts our health. I learned how our lifestyle affects our longevity. I learned that our habits can determine how we feel mentally, physically, and emotionally.
From there, I started on a personal health journey by making small changes and experimenting with healthier food options and engaging in more physical activity.
I picked up tennis and fell in love with the sport. My dad plays tennis regularly and I feel grateful for the opportunity to bond with him over something we both genuinely enjoy.
When I first started committing to a healthier lifestyle, I faced many of the challenges mentioned above. Entering university as a biology major turned out to be more challenging and demanding.
It was easier to eat junk food. It was easier to stay in bed than to cook and be active. By this time, I understood the connection between nutrition, physical activity and overall well-being. The challenge, however, was to maintain consistency.
I picked up another book called ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear and I highly recommend reading this book if you haven’t. The book’s premise provides a comprehensive guide to forming habits that stick. The book’s central thesis is that habits are the building blocks of success, and that small, consistent habits lead to big changes over time.
One of the key points that the author makes is that identity and habits are connected. For example, if someone identifies as a “runner” they are more likely to run regularly compared to someone who identifies as a ”non-runner”.
Same principle applies to someone who identifies as a “smoker”. People had a higher success rate of quitting cigarettes when they identified as “non-smokers” rather than as someone who is trying to quit smoking.
The book is well worth reading and reminds us that with the right systems in place, we can achieve significant improvements in our lives.
From my journey to a healthier lifestyle, I have learned 5 simple strategies that can help make your habits stick:
- Start with your WHY: It is easier to stick to a habit when you have a clear understanding why you want to change in the first place. It reminds you to keep going during challenging times
- Create an identity around your habits: Reframe your identity and visualize yourself as someone who successfully carries out these habits.
- Start small: It’s easy to get overwhelmed by big goals, so start with small, manageable habits that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine. For example, if you want to start exercising more, start by committing to just 10 minutes of exercise a day, and gradually increase the time as you become more comfortable.
- Get accountability: Tell someone about your new habit and ask them to hold you accountable. This could be a friend, family member, or even a coach. Having someone else to hold you accountable will make it harder to give up on your habit.
At Mahan Health, our Health Coach Katie Barr can help you stay accountable. Book your Health Coach consultation with her now.
- Make it a part of your routine: Habits are more likely to stick when they become part of your daily routine. Find ways to incorporate your new habit into your existing routine, such as exercising before work or after dinner. James Clear calls this “Habit stacking”
In conclusion, changing a habit can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. By knowing your why, claiming your identity, starting small, getting accountability, making it a part of your routine, you can make your habit stick. Remember, it takes time to change a habit, so be patient with yourself. Remember to reward and celebrate yourself when you achieve milestones along the way!
If you’re ready to make changes in your health and would like to work with me, schedule a complimentary call with me.
Clear, James. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones. Penguin, 2018.