As the saying goes, we are what we repeatedly do. Whether you’re looking to be more active, eat a little better, or live a more sustainable lifestyle, creating habits is the key to success. But while we may always have the best of intentions, consistency can be a hard thing to crack. Read on for my top 5 tips for forming healthy habits that will stick.
Take baby steps. Slow and steady wins the race, so make sure you set goals for yourself that aren’t too extreme or require a huge change in lifestyle to begin with. Rome wasn’t built in a day! For example, if you’d like to start exercising, start with a goal of going for just a 10-minute walk after work a couple of times a week, or trialling a fun gym class with a friend. If you’d like to eat more healthily, start by having an extra serving of green leafy vegetables at dinner, or by swapping out a sweet treat with a piece of fruit instead. There’s no need to go from zero to a hundred straight away. By taking small incremental steps, you can enjoy the benefits of setting healthy habits rather than seeing them as a chore, diet, or struggle.
Plan ahead. Fail to prepare and prepare to fail. With any new goal, it’s important to create a plan to avoid any obstacles (or excuses) that might derail your efforts. For example, if you’re trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle, keep your reusable shopping bags in the car ready for when you next hit the supermarket, or keep a set of nifty glass straws in your handbag for those after work cocktails with the girls. If you’re trying to be more active, schedule your workout into your day. Treat it as a non-negotiable meeting with yourself that can’t be moved. Plan your meals and snacks in advance to avoid temptation and spending extra money on food. Whatever your goal is, prioritising, scheduling and creating a plan is an easy way to stick to healthy habits and succeed.
Track your progress. Writing down your goals and progress towards them can keep you motivated and help you stay focused. It’s also a great way to see how far you’ve come, and monitor any setbacks along the way. Try keeping a daily journal or downloading a goal setting app on your phone. This way, you can set alerts and reminders to make sure your habits stick.
Be accountable. Whether it’s a friend, family member or colleague, telling someone about a goal or new habit you’re trying to stick to can make you more likely to succeed. Finding someone who can you can be accountable to can help you keep you committed to what you’re wanting to achieve. Better yet, find someone who also wants to set a new healthy habit with you. You’ll both motivate each other along the way and will have a better chance of staying on track.
Don’t beat yourself up. If you’ve slipped up along the way, there’s no need to throw in the towel. Be kind to yourself and gently get back on track when you can. Healthy habits should be enjoyable and not restrictive. Enjoy that birthday cake, glass of wine, or a full day in bed if that’s what your body is asking for. Remember, it’s what we do most of the time that counts. Finding a good balance and the joy in your healthy habits is where you’ll succeed.