Yes You Can Create Healthy Habits That Stick
Let’s take a look at how your previous efforts fell short and how you can implement new strategies moving forward.
You know it. You love it. You preach it. You live it... for a couple of weeks, maybe even a month? And then life happens again and all those healthy habits you so carefully cultivated fall by the wayside once more. This is the story of most people who are trying to live healthier lives, right? But what if we told you that isn’t necessarily the case? What if you can create habits that stick this time around? You absolutely can, but you need to understand why past attempts failed first in order to set yourself up for success now and in the future. Let’s take a look at how your previous efforts fell short and how you can implement new strategies moving forward.
Understanding Why Your Healthy Habits Fell By the Wayside
One reason why people fall out of their healthy habits is because they weren’t as invested in them as they thought. They might have been motivated by a special occasion, like a vacation or wedding, and then fell right back into old behaviors once the event was over. Or they had some success with healthy eating for a week or two but fell off the wagon when school started again. People also revert to unhealthy behaviors when it becomes too difficult to maintain their new routines during periods of stress, adversity, or emotional turmoil. If you’re in one of these situations now, you need to work on your emotional health first before trying to get healthy again. Finally, people often rely too heavily on willpower alone to maintain their healthy habits. You should know that willpower is only sustainable for so long before it runs out and leaves you feeling depleted and without any energy left to go through with your plan.
Creating a Solid Foundation for Change
In the past, you may have tried to change your habits by cutting out unhealthy food groups, or eliminating sugar and carbs. While these methods may have been effective in the short term, they don’t provide a solid foundation for long-term success. The problem with this approach is that when you cut out entire food groups or eliminate entire types of foods, it becomes much more difficult to maintain those changes. This is because your body craves what it isn’t getting. When you go without sweets for a while, your craving for them will be really high. Similarly, if you cut carbs from your diet, you’ll crave them even more than before. So how can we set ourselves up for success? The key is to make gradual changes that are sustainable. If you are trying to change one habit at a time, research says that you are more likely to succeed than if you tried to change multiple habits simultaneously.
Finding What Works for You and Your Lifestyle
We’re all different and that’s one of the best things about us. That’s why it’s so important to understand what works for you and your lifestyle. One of the most common reasons habits fail is because people try to change too many behaviors at once, leaving themselves no time to focus on anything else—or worse, leading them to give up altogether. But if you can identify the key behaviors that contribute to your goal, then it becomes much easier. Another reason habits fail is because people don’t actually have a clear idea of what their goals are in the first place. And without a plan, how can you expect success? You need to take some time and think about what you want to achieve, which will make it easier for you to create new habits that work for your life.
Be Realistic With What You Can Commit To and When
The first thing you need to do is be realistic with what you can commit to and when. If you’re looking to start a new healthy habit, set realistic goals for yourself and your timeframe. Don’t get discouraged if it takes a few weeks or even months before that habit sticks. You also want to give yourself a little breathing room with how much time and energy you’re willing to spend on that one new habit. For example, if you plan on starting a daily exercise routine, don’t work out every single day of the week. Start by working out three days per week and then progress from there as needed.
Try Something Small and Build From There
Creating healthy habits that stick might seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. The key is to start small and only focus on one change at a time. For example, if you usually drink soda with lunch, swap it out for water or tea instead. If you don’t exercise regularly, set an alarm on your phone every morning to remind yourself to do so when you wake up. A lot of people fail because they try to make too many changes at once without taking the time to see what actually works before adding more items. When all you need is a little bit of motivation and flexibility, these healthy habits will stick in no time!
You Need to Understand Why Your Past Attempts Failed With every new habit you want to cultivate, it's important to understand the reason past attempts failed. Doing so will allow you to set yourself up for success in the future and come up with the best plan of attack for your new challenge. Here are six reasons why many of your healthy habits haven’t stuck:
- Poor Planning If you don’t have a well thought-out plan, it’s unlikely that any habit you develop will stick. Taking the time to map out what steps you need to take, when and why is essential if you want your habit to be sustainable.
- Lack of Motivation We all know that starting something is always hardest part. In addition to a solid plan, you need motivation – or at least something that will get you off the ground in order for things to pick up momentum from there.
- Lack of Tools You can have the best intentions in the world, but without access to resources like food or exercise options that work with what your schedule looks like
nothing is going to stick. Identifying obstacles and then addressing them head on will help immensely with sticking with any new habit.
- Lack of Support Social support is one of those things that can really make or break making a change in your life – especially when it comes to fitness goals. Before beginning any journey towards healthier living, find people who share common interests and goals who can encourage and support.