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Ditch the resolutions and create happy, long-lasting, healthy habits instead.

As we head into the new year, resolutions are a common – and almost expected – tradition.  People set resolutions to lose weight, exercise more, become stress-free, save more money, or carve out time for self-care.  The list goes on and on. 

Habits form the foundation of our everyday lives. They help us become more successful, organized, and productive. They make your life easier!

These 6 steps will help you to create long-lasting, healthy habits this year!

How are habits formed?

Habits are formed with repetition and reinforcement. When we repeat certain behaviors and experience a positive result, our brains create connections and neural pathways that make it easier to retake the same action.  

This is why brains are so powerful.  Once habits are established, they can be hard to break, but they also allow us to make positive life changes. 

To break a bad habit, you must have the desire to change. It can be challenging and seem scary. When you have the mindset and beliefs that you can’t do something, you actually discourage yourself from creating long-lasting habits. 

But change is possible, and I’m here to help!  These 6 steps will help you create healthy habits that stick!

1.What is your ultimate goal?

The first step is deciding what you want. The SMART goal philosophy is one of the most time-tested and easy to help you design and create goals you can achieve. 

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Attainable

R – Relevant

T – Time Bound

 

I had a client that wanted to do ten pushups with perfect form within 60 days. That goal is very clear, specific, and measurable because she followed the SMART formula. 

If your goal is to do more cardio, there is a better way you can write it.  You could run without stopping for 10 minutes within 14 days.  It makes the goal attainable and within the realm of possibility. 

The goals also need to be relevant to your lifestyle.  If you are just starting exercise, it’s probably not an attainable goal to say you want to run a marathon next month. 

2. Why do you want to achieve this goal?

Once you know what the goal is, you need to understand why it matters to you.  If the goal isn’t compelling enough to start a new habit or stop one, then it won’t happen. 

Ask yourself these questions: 

  • Why is it important that I create this new habit that leads me to achieve that goal?
  • How will I feel when I’ve reached that goal and incorporated that new habit into my life?
  • How will it affect my family, friends, and job performance?
  • What will this new habit give you in life?

Allow yourself time to process what it really means to achieve this goal and create these new healthy habits.  Writing it down will help unlock powerful feelings that will give you the fuel and motivation to keep going when things get difficult.

3. Choose one habit at a time 

If you choose ten new habits to change immediately, you are setting yourself up for failure.   You’ll be living in a state of overwhelm and stress. 

It’s critical to create new habits that you do one habit at a time.  If you want to reduce stress by 50% in 60 days, you may start with meditation. Meditate for 5 minutes for the next five days, then increase it. 

Pick something easily achievable each day. Doing one thing at a time will be much simpler and more manageable. And it’s more likely to stick long term. 

4. Make your habit easy & doable

You want this new habit to be as easy, doable, and pleasurable as possible.  That is the secret to setting yourself up for success and creating an environment that supports your new habit.  

If you want to reduce your stress levels by 50% in 60 days and your habit is meditation, you can start by downloading an app (such as Calm or Headspace) that helps you learn breathing techniques to help you stay focused during meditation.  

That’s an easy, doable, and pleasurable step to creating a new habit. 

5. Expect slip-ups

Expecting slip-ups is a way to give yourself grace and space because creating new habits can feel a bit wonky in the beginning! You will fall off track in the process of creating a new habit.  It takes time and repetition for your brain to make the process automatic and easy.

When you have a plan and a way to forgive yourself, you’ll get back on track with your healthy habit much quicker. 

When I fall off track, I do five things: 

  1. Remind me why I’m creating this habit
  2. Remind me why I set this goal and how it will help me in the future
  3. Determine what got me off track that day to building my new habit
  4. Learn from the situation
  5. Put boundaries in place so I can do a better job of setting myself up for success. 

The key is if I can catch myself right away, so I won’t wait until tomorrow to start over.

6. Reward yourself

The last step is to carve out a reward for yourself.  The reward should be applicable and won’t sabotage your healthy habit progress. 

This reward should be beyond the actual reward of achieving your goal and instilling a new habit.  How can you celebrate all the hard work, time, energy, efforts, fumbles, and falling off track?

You may get a massage or a new book instead of a food reward for following a nutrition plan. 

If you need support creating healthy habits, I can help! I offer a complimentary 30-minute chat to go through this process together.  

 

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