Good habits can set you up for a long, healthy future. A healthy lifestyle will improve your quality of life, both physically and mentally. We've all tried to eat healthily or exercise daily, but these healthy habits can seem difficult to stick to, causing a never-ending cycle of giving up and starting over. Building habits can initially seem intimidating, but here are some ways to create new healthy habits that actually stick. Start Small. When developing new habits, it's important to start small. Trying to overhaul your entire lifestyle overnight is often overwhelming and unsustainable in the long term. Instead, focus on making one small change at a time. For example, if you're trying to eat healthier, start by adding one extra serving of fruits or vegetables to your diet each day. Once that becomes part of your daily routine, you can slowly start making other changes, such as cutting back on sugar or eating more whole foods. By taking things slow, you're more likely to stick with your new habits for the long haul. Plan ahead. Make your new habits easier to stick to by planning ahead of time. For example, if you want to exercise, lay out your gym clothes the night before so you're more motivated to put them on in the morning. If you want to eat healthier, make sure your fridge has lots of healthy snacks. Meal prep for days that you might be too busy to cook. Pre-wash and cut up some vegetables and fruits so you can grab them on the go.
“Every journey … begins with a single step. But you must take that first step
Keep track of your progress. Sometimes, we give up on our healthy habits because it feels like we haven't progressed with them. Write down your progress in a journal to reflect on it. It will not only make you feel better about what you've already done, but it will also motivate you to continue moving forward. Writing down your goals also holds you more accountable. Reward yourself for making these healthy changes. Building a new healthy habit doesn't have to be tedious or unenjoyable. Instead, find fun and rewarding ways to practice your new habits, such as going on a walk with your friends or signing up for a fun cooking class. New habits are always easier when you do them with a friend. Stick to your habits daily. You will create a new routine much more quickly if you practice it daily. However, don't ever punish yourself for falling off track. If you miss a day or two, just move on and continue from where you left off. Don't let it undo all your progress by giving up. If you have some 'bad' habits you'd like to eliminate, the first step is to identify what they are and what triggers you to do them. Is it stress, lack of time, or another underlying issue causing you to have these bad habits? All habits have a purpose, even the bad ones. They might be coping mechanisms for something, so find out what that is, and then you can work on fixing it.