Starting a new healthy habit can be challenging! It’s common that we let our desires for the results lure us into biting off more than we can chew. New Year’s resolutions are a perfect example. We want to lose 30 pounds so we start January 2nd off running 5 miles, stopping eating sugar and eating kale with every meal. Those are all huge goals compiled into one day and so it’s easy to get discouraged and quit.
Thankfully there are many simple ways that you can implement a habit that will stick! Here are some great tips that will help you create a sustainable habit.
- Start small and focus on one thing at a time: The best way to build a habit is by committing to smaller goals and increasing as things get easier. By setting smaller goals and achieving them, we will be more encouraged to succeed! Take your end result and break it down into bite size chunks to create milestones. Choose only one milestone as your goal to focus on at any given time. I know it can be tempting to add more, however that can easily burn you out. By choosing one and only one milestone goal to focus on each month, it is easy to turn it into a habit that we can sustain long term. Once you have got it down, then add another goal (ideally adding 1 new goal per month)!
- Make it fun: If you associate a habit with pain, you’ll find reasons not to do it. If you associate it with pleasure, you’re likely to make time for it. Be creative and find ways to make your new habit more enjoyable!
- Plan ahead: Planning exactly when and how you’ll do your habit will go a long way toward making it happen, so be sure to plan in advance. It’s easier to forget to do your habit if it is not planned and scheduled. If you put something on your schedule and commit to it, it’s easier to build this habit. Setting reminders for yourself to ensure you remember can also be helpful.
- Consistency matters more than intensity: Make sure that you’re creating a habit enough times per week that it can become a habit. The consistency of keeping up with the habit week after week is the most important aspect. Do your best not to skip a day, this breaks your habit. If you do skip a day, don’t judge yourself or beat yourself up. Just get back to it tomorrow! Then identify what prevented you from sticking to your plan and work to solve that problem in the future.