How many times have you said that this time you were really going to commit to your health goals, only to be back in the same spot a week later? Umm, yeah, I’ve so been there.
Building a new habit isn’t a walk in the park, I totally get it. It’s tough to be consistent when you have a million other responsibilities to worry about.
The key to building a consistent healthy habit is being wholeheartedly committed to making your health a priority. Learning to do something new daily gets you out of our comfort zone, which is why it’s so uncomfortable. But if you’re committed, it’s an opportunity to challenge yourself, grow as a person, and become a healthier you.
It’s important to note that building healthy habits isn’t just about exercising and eating well. If you already have that down packed, more power to you! You may or may not have heard this, but being “healthy” isn’t just about the physical aspects like eating well and exercising regularly – it’s also about what you’re thinking and saying.
If you’re in the best shape of your life and always have a green smoothie in your hand, but you’re constantly stressed and in a bad place mentally, your body is going to feel that eventually. The mind/body connection is freakishly powerful. That’s why we should all strive to build healthy habits that contribute to all aspects of our health – mind, body, and soul.
So how do you exactly build healthy habits? I’m glad you asked!
1. Commit to your health and goals
Let’s be real, it isn’t going to happen if you don’t actually want it to happen. Commit fully and completely to improving yourself. Figure out your why.
Why are you waking up before sunrise to go to yoga? Why are you trying to eat more greens? Why are you trying to improve your health? Your why is going to be different than someone else’s, so it’s important to have it crystal clear in your head so you always have it to come back to when you need to motivate yourself.
Commit to making your health a priority and to shifting your focus to the long-term. You’ll find that some habits will take less time to build, but that others take more time and effort.
2. Sync your new habit to an established habit
Think about the things you already do daily. Taking a shower, drinking your morning coffee, brushing your teeth, changing out of your work clothes, washing the dishes after dinner – there are many habits that we perform daily without even trying. The idea is to find a habit that you already consistently do and anchor it with a new behavior:
- Before showering, I will write down three things I’m grateful for.
- After changing out of my work clothes, I will change into workout clothes and walk for 15 minutes.
- After I wash the dishes, I will turn my phone on airplane mode and read my book.
This method allows for your new habits to become part of your daily routine with the help of your already-established habits.Need help building healthy habits? Here are 8 tips to set you up for success. Click To Tweet
3. Write habits down and use a planner/calendar to schedule
Whatever your health goals are, add them to your calendar! Make a plan. If your goal is to go to the gym after work, schedule it in. If your goal is to wake up earlier to meditate, schedule it in. Make it a habit to always check your calendar before you go to sleep, so you know what you have planned for the next day.
I’m a big advocate of having a planner. It helps to add more structure and organization in all areas of life. I love the Brit + Co planners that break down each day by time slots because it makes it so much easier to make time blocks for each activity. This is the one I have.
If you’re not a planner/calendar person, write down a checklist of your goals for that day. Make it visual and make it obvious. For example, I write down my morning routine on a whiteboard in my room so it’s somewhere I can always see it and so I don’t forget anything.
- Wake up
- Oil pulling
- Read (until finished with oil pulling)
- Brush teeth
- Lemon water
- Check emails
- Quick yoga flow (or gym, depending on the day)
Hanging the checklist in an obvious place makes it hard to ignore, so this is the best way to do it! This method has helped me tremendously in building my morning healthy habits and actually sticking to them.
4. Start Slow
Don’t try to overdo it when you’re just starting to build new healthy habits. Keep it simple and easy. In the words of Leo Babauta: “Make it so easy that you can’t say no.”
If your goal is to start running, don’t try to run 3 miles on your first day. Start with a 10-minute run then gradually increase your time when you feel ready. If you want to eat more veggies and fruits, don’t try to eat only veggies and fruits for all your meals. Start with adding one fruit to your breakfast, then add a veggie to your lunch and so on. If you want to start meditating, don’t try to do a 45-minute session. Start with 5 minutes, and go from there. Making your habits so easy that you can’t say no will allow you to build consistency over time.
You may be someone that knows you can tackle building a few healthy habits at a time. Or you may be someone who can only commit to building one new habit at a time. Neither approach is wrong – just be realistic! We’re all different, so it’s important to know which approach will set you up for success.Making your habits so easy that you can’t say no will allow you to build consistency over time. Click To Tweet
5. Find someone to hold you accountable
Getting someone to cheer you on (or kick your butt back into gear) is one of the best ways to make sure you’re not letting your lack of motivation get in the way.
Whether it’s your best friend, your roommate, your wife/husband, mom – tell them about your goals and ask them if they’d be willing to be there for you and provide that extra motivation to get you going. Find someone that will do whatever you need them to do to help you achieve your goals.
If you’re not into the whole “family/friend” accountability partner, the internet is your savor. Use social media or an online community to post updates, use apps like HabitBull to track your progress, or join a meetup group that is related to your habit. Putting yourself and your goals out there will give you the reinforcement you need to support your new routine.
6. Don’t stop
You’ll have days that you’re just not feeling it. You’ll have days that you just simply don’t have the time. You’ll have days that life will get in the way and that’s completely OK. Your healthy-living journey isn’t going to be perfect. The most important thing to remember is to not stop. Don’t give up because you missed a day or a few days. Be flexible and give yourself grace, then shake it off and get back on track.
7. Celebrate the small wins
Are you on a 5-day streak for one of your habits? Reward yourself. The reward doesn’t have to cost money, it can simply be doing something that you truly enjoy. For example, if my goal is to read every day for at least 10 minutes, and I consistently do it all week, then I’ll reward myself with a bath.
It can be as simple as watching your favorite movie or a night out with your loved one, take the time to celebrate your dedication and the progress you’ve been making to establishing healthy habits.
8. Track your progress
Making time for meditation was always tough for me. After finally committing to it, I downloaded an app to hold myself accountable. Most meditation apps send you a reminder and track your progress for you. Right now, I’m on a 13-day streak and just seeing the progress I’m making motivates me to keep going at it every day!
I can’t tell you enough how much tracking helps to keep you motivated. With a daily habit tracker, you can see exactly what your goals are, what habits you’re doing great on, and what you need to work on. There’s something about having a visual to see real results of how you’re progressing, that makes you feel like you totally got this.
The simple healthy habits guide
To help you out with your goal to become a healthier you, I put together a guide with 8 simple healthy habits that you can easily start today. I walk you through each habit with actionable steps and provide a printable habit tracker so you can get started right away!
The 8 healthy habits I touch on are ideas for you to run with – you can pick and choose what healthy habits you want to track so don’t feel obligated to do them all. You may be someone that wants to take on all of the 8 habits and that’s great! But if you want to take on only a few (or maybe track your own personal habits), that’s cool too! You may find that you already have some of these habits, but this will help you to stay more consistent.
Using a habit tracker for my daily tasks has been huge for me. Seeing how I’m progressing towards my healthy living goals gets me pumped to keep going, and I want that for you too! I challenge you to grab the guide and give it your all to conquering these healthy habits for at least a month. Try it out and see if tracking your daily habits gets you as motivated as ever.
I’ll be cheering you on the whole way!Tracking my healthy habits for 1 month! Join me on this challenge! Click To Tweet
Now that you’re armed with these tips to build healthier habits that you’ll stick to, what healthy habit are you going to conquer?