I'm always trying to find the best ways to start and stick to healthier habits. If you read some blogs, you'll feel like it's impossible to even try. I prefer to focus on more realistic ways to start and stick to healthier habits. While it's not always easy, I do have success. The key is to be patient and not expect results overnight. Habits take time, but it's well worth the time.
1. Set Realistic Goals
One of the best ways to start and stick to healthier habits is to set more realistic goals. Saying you want to lose 50 pounds in two weeks isn't realistic. Saying you want to lose a few pounds each week is realistic. Set healthy goals that are achievable. Break large goals into smaller ones. With each success, you'll find it easier to stick to healthier habits.
2. Get Support
I've always found it helpful to have support when trying to start a new healthy habit. For instance, breakfast isn't exactly my healthiest meal. To help me change that habit, I started eating breakfast with a friend each morning. She helped keep me on track and made sure we only had healthy options available. After several weeks, I was able to do it on my own. Ask a friend or relative to help you along the way. Trust me, it helps.
3. Tie It to Other Habits
We all have daily habits. For instance, we shower, brush our teeth, eat meals, etc. If you want to fit in a healthy habit, tie it to something you already do. For instance, I do a small workout right after brushing my teeth. It took a few weeks for it to become a natural habit, but brushing my teeth reminded me to exercise. While it may not work with every healthy habit, it does help out with some.
4. Replace Bad Habits Slowly
I admit I don't always have the healthiest eating habits. However, I always failed when I tried to change my habits all at once. The solution was so simple. I replaced my bad eating habits slowly. For instance, I replaced one snack each day with a fruit. I then added seasoned vegetables in place of fries at least once a week. After a few months, I was eating healthier and had no problem maintaining it.
5. Do It the Same Every Day
Habits are formed from repetition. If you want to get in shape, but only exercise twice this week, once next week and twice the following week, you'll never reach your goals. Healthy habits require a steady schedule. Set a time every day to focus on your desired habit. It might seem hard at first, but after two or three weeks, it'll seem just like another part of your routine.
6. Make It Enjoyable
If you hate regular exercise or the thought of eating healthy makes you gag, find a way to make healthy habits more enjoyable. Perhaps you love walking in the park or dancing in your living room. Hate veggies? Try them mixed in soup or seasoned a different way. Mix fruit in a smoothie. You don't have to do what everyone else does. Simply make healthy choices that are enjoyable to you.
7. Make Lists
I never had problems setting goals, but remembering what I needed to do each day was an issue. Writing down “exercise more” doesn't help me remember which exercises to do and when. I managed to stick to healthier habits by writing down a detailed list for each habit. It included what I needed to do each day. I also divided my list into sections. Each section was a little healthier so I could start off slowly.
8. Combine with Your Favorite Activity
I love watching TV and listening to music. To help me get healthier, I started dancing while listening to my favorite playlist. I also made a point of walking on the treadmill while watching certain shows. Odds are, you could add a healthy habit to something you already enjoy doing. Even if it's just adding one healthy veggie to your favorite sandwich, it's a great start.
9. Reward Yourself
Everyone loves rewards. When you set your goal, include a reward with it. It's much easier to work towards healthier habits when a reward is involved. Maybe you want to lose weight. Reward yourself with a weekend getaway when you reach your goal. It's positive reinforcement. Just make sure you stick to the habit after the reward. I actually have periodic rewards so I always have a reason.
Healthier habits aren't impossible. Start off realistically and take your time. Before you know it, healthy will be just a natural as brushing your teeth. What healthy habits would you like to have?