Ahh the end of January. The time of year when New Year’s resolutions start to slip and we fall back into our old ways. For most of us it’s the same thing every year. Many have given up on New Year’s Resolutions altogether because they know they won’t stick. And that’s totally okay because honestly you don’t need to start something on the first of the year for it to be successful. We can implement new healthy habits starting any day of the year because it’s how we set ourselves up for success that matters; not the start date.
As a health coach, I work with people who want to change. There’s something undesirable or unhealthy in their lives and they are ready to shift out of it. It can be a poor diet, continuously high stress levels, or lack of adequate exercise. They seek change, yet it seems to elude them.
Here are my pro tips to form healthy habits that will actually stick.
1. Start simple!
I like to call it “habit stacking”. Starting with small, actionable habits allow you to get those under your belt and part of your routine before adding an additional habit to the mix. For example, if your goal is to start going to bed by 10:00 pm every night, but you currently stay up till midnight or later, you could start by first building the habit of a nighttime routine involving relaxation techniques. Next you can move your bedtime up 20 minutes and set your alarm to wake up 20 minutes earlier as well. Increasing this until you reach your goal. This works so much better than trying to force yourself into bed at 10 pm only to sit and have your mind spin and get angry and give up! Similarly,, if you want to eat healthier foods, don’t jump into some crazy restrictive diet. It will be too much to get used to all at once. Instead, swap one “unhealthy” food you currently eat for a healthier option. Then you can continue this process with another food and another. Moving at the right pace for you!
2. Pay attention to your words
Most of the time when we are creating goals or thinking of how to implement new healthy habits, we focus on what we DON’T want to do. For example, “ I won’t eat junk food this year”. That places the focus on the thing we don’t want in our loves any more and it is worded in a negative way. Instead try a goal like “I will reach for whole foods for when I want a snack”. The wording here really does affect us on a deeper level. Keep it positive and framed on what you DO want to cultivate in your life.
3. Question what could possibly hinder you
It’s a great strategy I use with my clients! Think about what might get in the way of you implementing this new habit or to be successful with your goal. That allows you (and your health aocha or other partner in your health journey) to focus on how to counter out those possible hindrances. For example, if your goal is to run every morning before work but you know that you are so not a morning person, be honest and revise this plan. Either moving your workout to the afternoon or devising a plan for getting to bed sooner to make waking up and getting a run in a more achievable plan.
4. Ask yourself “What’s my why?”
Motivation is critical, not just having it but understanding what our motivation is. For example, you may have a goal to lose weight. Okay that sounds fine but really it’s not giving us a look at what you really desire. Is your motivation for losing weight to feel more comfortable in your own body? Or Is it to help in bringing up some other health markers? Or is it another reason entirely. Those are all different motivations and looking at this helps us to know what we are really trying to achieve and helps us to start cultivating more of it in our lives along the path to reaching that ultimate goal. For example if your reason behind wanting to lose weight is to feel more confident in your own skin, then we can work on adding some positive, body loving affirmations to your daily routine as well.
5. Make it Fun!!!!
You’re way more likely to stick with a new habit if it’s enjoyable. As humans we naturally try to avoid unpleasant tasks and opt for those that are fun. If you despise going to the gym, then opt for a fun dance class instead. Habits that have a social component tend to make them more enjoyable so look for ways to get involved in groups or classes, or even find a buddy who has similar goals so you can work toward them together.
There you have it! Five ways to make your new healthy habits likelier to stick around. So if you missed the chance to set new year’s resolutions this year or have already let yours slide out the door, no worries. You can start anew and have a better chance at success by sticking to these tips.
And don’t forget to schedule a visit with me to start making sustainable changes to help you achieve your health goals in 2021!