Happy 2022! I hope your year is off to a great start. If you’ve set new year’s resolutions, you may be absolutely killing it, and being your healthiest self ever. OR you may be getting to that point where you are faltering in your new year’s resolutions. If you’re in the latter group, don’t worry, because today we’re covering how to create habits that stick!
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, I want to emphasize how important habits are. These are the daily tasks like brushing your teeth, watching TV, or working out that ultimately form a pretty big portion of our lives.
Habits are also the key to reaching all of your goals. When we set a goal, that’s simply the end result we are trying to reach. Habits are the system of actions that must be practiced day in and day out in order to achieve the goal. If you can master your habits you can master your life!
Now that you see how important habits are, let’s talk about what we can do to make them stick. Because change is hard! And research says it takes on average 66 days to form a habit. So keep reading to set yourself up for habit success.
Plan Out Your Habits
Carving out some time at the beginning of the week to actually plan out when you will practice your habits is essential to making them happen. Block off time in your calendar just as you would for a meeting, and enable notifications as reminders! Aim for practicing your habits earlier in the day, like working out in the morning before the distractions of the day pop up.
And if you miss your habit, have a contingency plan. For example, if you plan to cook a healthy dinner, but get too busy at work, have some salmon and broccoli ready to go into the oven as a backup plan!
Start with 1-3 Habits
Far too often we put a ton of pressure on ourselves to change all of the things at once, but most folks aren’t successful with that, get frustrated, then give up. Instead, focus on only 1-3 habits that are really important to you, or will make the biggest impact, and diligently work on mastering those.
Starting small also applies to the habit itself – 60 minutes of exercise a day seems really tough. But 5 minutes a day? That sounds doable! And if you don’t think that’s a lot, small changes really do add up over time.
Find Habits Your Enjoy
You are much more likely to engage in a habit if you actually enjoy it. As you build your habits over time, you’ll likely try new things and make adjustments as necessary, like finding your favorite healthy recipes or workout instructor. Consistency becomes effortless when you actually look forward to your healthy behaviors.
Even if you don’t enjoy a certain habit, you can make it more enjoyable with something called temptation bundling, which entails pairing an activity you don’t enjoy with one that you do. For example, I don’t particularly like waking up at 6 AM, but I look forward to that hot cup of coffee and listening to my favorite morning playlist, so it helps me get out of bed!
How to Create Habits That Stick
I find the three methods above have the most impact when learning how to create habits that stick, but there are some other strategies I should point out when it comes to building habits
- Accountability – join a Facebook Group or link up with a friend to work on the same habit, then regularly check in on your progress. Hire a coach (or dietitian ;)) if you’re really serious!
- Environment – set out environmental triggers that prompt a good habit, while hiding those that prompt bad habits. For example, leave your workout clothes out, and hide the cookies in the pantry.
- Replace – if you’re trying to break a bad habit, replace the habit instead of going cold turkey.
- Tracking – measuring your habits provides positive reinforcement each time you check off that box, plus seeing your consistency over time motivates you to stick with it
- Mindset – reframe your mindset from “I’m trying to…” to “I am a person who…” Own that habit and make it part of your identity
- Rewards – giving yourself a little (or big) pat on the back for sticking to your habits will motivate you and serve as positive reinforcement. This can be as simple as a fancy latte or relaxing bubble bath
I hope this has helped you uncover some strategies to actually stick to your healthy habits! They truly are the key to a healthy lifestyle. If you want more guidance on creating and instilling healthy habits, book a free consultation with me and we’ll chat about making a healthy lifestyle happen for you!