5 Tips for Building a New Healthy Habit and Sticking to It
The idea of change sounds simple.
The action of sustaining the change can be more challenging.
Beginning a new habit, begins with a high motivation to change. It begins with a WHY.
For me, in all honesty, the habit I struggle the most with is meditation. I KNOW that meditation is good for me and when I commit to meditation I FEEL the difference. Then…. Life gets busy… I miss 1 day…then 2…. Then a week…. Then uh oh…. The irony to this is, when I am busy, I know that this is when I actually need this practice the MOST! Back to the mat!
This process is normal when building habits. When these habits are ingrained, they are no longer questioned. Its just a part of what you do. Do you ever question brushing your teeth? You know that brushing your teeth is good for you and you like the feeling of clean teeth; without questioning this, you routinely perform this habit every day.
Forming a new habit can feel challenging. As a child you learnt to walk, you then probably went through a similar process learning to ride a bike and drive a car. This felt really wonky and HARD at the time, but you trusted the process. You trusted that falling was part of learning. You hopped up and kept trying.
Here are 5 Tips that I find helpful when building a new habit
1. ALWAYS REMEMBER YOUR WHY.
To be successful at continuing with a new habit, you need to connect with YOUR why. Why are you doing this? What is this going to achieve for you? For me, meditating “because someone told me it was good for me’’, is probably not going to keep me motivated for long. Instead, “I am going to meditate because it helps to ground me and connect me better with myself and others” is much more likely to stick. Once you have YOUR why for your habit, write it down. Place it somewhere you can see it. A reminder of your why is powerful motivation.
2. STACK YOUR HABIT ON ANOTHER.
Stacking a habit on another one, is a proven strategy that helps remind you and helps you to commit. For me, I always choose to do my meditation after my morning workout. I know that my workouts to me are non-negotiable. Morning movement sets me up for the day, it revs up my whole being and sets me racing into my day. This is a good thing, when channeled well, if this isn’t channeled well, I can find myself running too fast during the day, wired & scattered. I choose to do my morning meditation for 10 minutes post training to help ground my mind and body so I can approach my day with clarity.
3. START SMALL
If you are anything like me, when you think of change, you want to jump in with EVERYTHING you have and do ALL the things. This is great…. For a while… then it can become too much. Sometimes even the thought of doing ALL the things, can leave you feeling flat, overwhelmed and un-motivated. This is ok. The great news is, you don’t have to do all the things! Start with one thing. Keep this one thing small. For me, if I thought of sitting and meditating for 60 minutes in the morning, I’d probably rip my hair out. But I CAN bring this back and commit to 5 minutes or 10 minutes. This allows me to stay consistent. When it comes to food, this could be committing to 1 meal a day, to focus on making amazing!
4. SCHEDULE YOUR CHANGES
Schedule a time in your calendar for your change. Write it down. Know WHEN you are going to do it and commit to it. For me, I now get up 10 minutes earlier every day, to ensure that I have ENOUGH time to make my meditation happen and I’m not tempted to skip this over due to time restraints. For you, it may be something like writing your training or gym schedule into a diary. Committing to a time when you are going to build your new habit and writing it down is a powerful tool to help change.
There is something about committing to others, that can help make us feel more committed to ourselves. This could be a simple as writing down your new intention and sharing it with your friend, it could be meeting a training mate at the gym, it may be joining a social group or online community with others that also have similar goals. It may be working along-side a coach to help you achieve your goals. Working with people that understand what you are going through can help you stay on track when motivation is low.
As a Naturopath, Nutritionist and Fitness Coach, I truly understand that most of us intellectually KNOW the things that are good for us, building the habit and staying consistent, however, is the most challenging part. In working with my clients to get results, we incorporate all of these concepts. In the same way we learn to walk, we can then learn to run, jump and juggle, effortlessly…one step at a time.