3 Tips To Create Successful & Sustainable Health Habits
Consistency with healthy choices is really hard, but contrary to what you believe, it is not because you lack willpower, are bad or less than. It's because the health and wellness culture is built around the idea that fad or "all or nothing" behaviors and mindsets create success.
1. Attach Your Habits To Your Values
Habits are more than just the actions we take to accomplish our goals. Habits are a statement of our values. Separating habits from values leads to a disconnect between what we consider important and what we do on a daily basis.
To attach your habits to your values, it's important to reflect on what really matters to you. Some examples include:
Feeling more energetic and alert
Improving mental focus and productivity
Feeling more confident
Being more balanced
Setting a good example for my children or significant other
Having more stamina so that I can cope with my busy life
Sleeping better so that I have more energy
Improving my mood and/or reduce stress
Preparing for a big event such as a marathon, triathlon, etc.
Decreasing my risk or reoccurrence of high cholesterol, heart disease and heart attacks, obesity, brittle bones (osteoporosis), high blood pressure, stroke or early death
Then you must connect what you value to the habit you wish to form. For example, "I walk 20 minutes a day because I value my health and I feel more mentally clear afterward." After connecting your values to your habits, you must come up with an action plan on how to actually create the habit, including how and when you will do these actions. For more information on how to set effective goals, I have a free Goal Setting Workbook available for download below.
2. Practice Consistency
Consistency is difficult in the beginning, and that's ok. This is why you need practice. Being consistent in anything new is incredibly challenging. It can often make us feel overwhelmed, frustrated and as though we can't do anything right. Consistency is also difficult because it is easy to get bored in a routine, we tend to rationalize our "bad" choices and life gets in the way at times. Creating real change is hard because it's easy to choose the comfort in what we know vs. the potential, worth-while discomfort of changing our habits.
3. Create Accountability
Accountability is vital for creating or changing health habits. Studies show that when you are accountable for your goals to a friend, family member or coach, you are twice as likely to achieve your goals. Motivation plays a large role in accountability. Motivation to "save face" may be a more shallow reason to complete a goal, but if the goal is truly important to you, it may help you in the long run. One of the ways I have been most successful in creating accountability for myself is hiring a coach. The more I have made these leaps of faith, the more I've realized as humans we are hardwired to believe in our own failure rather than success. Why is it so easy to buy into things but so hard to buy into ourselves? Because we don't believe we're worthy of the risk. Whatever fears are holding you back, trust in yourself more than you do in those lies. If you need help getting started in creating successful and sustainable healthy habits, click the link below to schedule a free wellness consultation and you can join a whole community of like-minded wellness dreamers!