3 Steps To Creating Healthy Habits (That Actually Last)
If eating right and going to the gym were habits just like brushing your teeth and throwing your clothes in “that chair” in your room, we’d all be in great shape, right?!
If only if only…
But we can totally make our healthy choices into habits, transforming them from chores to routines that we not only don’t have to spend ridiculous amounts of time thinking about, but also might enjoy.
That’s the beauty of habits— they’re mindless, almost non-negotiable practices that, once repeated enough, pretty much stick and require little to no mental effort.
So how do we do it? Keep reading.
1. One habit at a time.
If you want to make a habit of drinking more water, waking up earlier, going for an evening run/walk, and bringing your lunch to work instead of ordering out— PICK ONE, and then start.
These are are awesome examples of small changes you can make, but trying to introduce all of these things at once is going to mean at least one of them fails, and that’s discouraging.
Pick one habit per week (or 2 weeks, 10 days, whatever) and give it a go, then reassess from there.
2. Analyze your successes and failures.
So you tried drinking a glass of water before each meal, and it didn’t work out so well. Or maybe you set your alarm 30 minutes earlier to try and wake up in time for a decent breakfast, but snoozed it every morning and couldn’t get up. Ask yourself what happened. Rather than abandoning the habit completely and giving up, analyze it a little.
Did you fail because you didn’t bring a water bottle with you? You went to bed too late? You didn't budget enough time? What went wrong, and what went right? Integrating new habits is a learning process! It's okay to mess up, regroup, re-strategize, and try again tomorrow with some new approaches!
3. Make your habits your own.
Many times, we try to start other people’s habits in our own lives. “She wakes up early and runs before work every morning! I guess that’s the key. I’ll do that.” And just like that, we set out on a mission that isn’t our own and likely doesn’t fit our own interests, desires, or natural tendencies. That sounds like something sustainable, right?!
The key to sustaining a healthy habit is to pick one that works for YOU, not one that works for someone else. Maybe you’re a night owl who can't imagine anything worse than waking up earlier to RUN!. Then why are you trying to become a morning runner?! Bike after dinner. Do a workout video while a casserole bakes. Hit the treadmill after-dark. Create habits that fit you.
So many of us struggle with figuring out what works for us...
If you're looking for some new habits but don't know where to start, ask yourself what things you could potentially enjoy and thus more easily incorporate into your routine as habits. If you love watching a Sunday evening show, make that your meal prep time, and create a habit of TV + veggie chopping. If you find you enjoy winding down with a good book in the evening, try getting an audio version of the book and going for a brisk walk for a chapter or two.
Other people’s habits may look and work great for them, but the best habits for you are the ones that work for you.