People who maintained five healthy lifestyle habits lived more than a decade longer than those that didn’t. In other words, people can increase the length of their lives and lower their disease risk by developing healthy lifestyle habits. Developing good habits can take time and practice, though.
Here are a few tips that can help you develop and maintain any healthy habit you hope to form. Whether it’s following a healthy eating pattern or getting enough exercise, these tips can improve your health and longevity.
Read on to learn how to make a habit stick with these tips today!
Outline Your Goals
First, take a moment to outline SMART goals for yourself. People who write down their goals are 33% more successful in achieving them than others. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-Driven, and Time-Sensitive.
Establishing SMART goals can give your efforts more structure. It can help you determine the best way to form and maintain your healthy lifestyle habits.
Write down a plan that includes small, reasonable goals, along with the specific actions you’ll take to move toward them. For example, your goals might involve:
- Walking three times a week
- Strength training three times a week
- Making healthier meals
- Quitting drinking
- Quitting smoking
- Meditating daily
As you write down your goals and the habits you want to form, consider what you need to set yourself up for success. For example, maybe you need to build a weekly grocery list that doesn’t include fattening snacks. Maybe you hope to exercise more often and want to turn to friends to hold you accountable.
Getting your friends and family involved could make it easier for you to form these habits. Ask people to join you, support you, or help you remain consistent.
Start With Small Changes
You don’t have to make a ton of huge changes all at once. Instead, start making minor adjustments to help develop the habits on your list.
Don’t aim for big, quick changes in your life. Instead, aim for consistent improvement over time.
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Set up small tasks you can complete throughout the day to reinforce the behaviors you want to maintain. You’ll feel more in control as you complete these small behaviors. For example, maybe you want to start exercising by going for a 10-minute walk your first week.
By the end of the month, maybe you’re walking a mile instead.
Making smaller changes will set you up for success. Maintaining them, however, can turn those small changes into a lasting habit.
Make It Convenient
The more difficult it is to complete a behavior, the less likely you’ll remain consistent. Instead, try to make things easy as you form these healthy habits.
Find ways to organize your life to make it easier for you to form your new habits. For example, you might place your running shoes at the foot of your bed each night. Then, you’ll have a visual reminder to go walking first thing in the morning.
If you want to eat healthier this year, meal prep for the week. Plan meals with your family to get everyone involved. Choose meals you love to remain motivated, too.
To further improve your nutritional habits this year, check out this Optimal Nutrition Test by Biostarks.
Understand Your Motivation
Take the time to understand why you’re forming these new healthy habits in the first place.
Most people are motivated to either move toward something desirable and positive or to move away from something negative.
Determine why you want to form each habit on your list. If you’re losing motivation along the way, remind yourself why you’re forming that habit in the first place.
For example, maybe you want to live longer, fit into a wedding dress, or have clearer skin. Regardless of the motivation, keeping focused on the why can give you the drive you need to remain consistent.
Think About the Future
If you’re still struggling to remain motivated in the present, look to the future.
Some people have a difficult time resisting impulses. Delay discounting occurs when you discount (undervalue) the larger benefits in favor of smaller, immediate rewards. As a result, you might start shopping, drinking, overeating, or completing other unwanted behaviors.
Learning to postpone immediate gratification can help you form healthy habits. Use episodic future thinking and vividly imagine the future you’re aiming for.
Focusing on how these small changes can have a major impact on your overall lifestyle can keep you focused on the task at hand. The next time you’re feeling tempted to quit, think ahead.
A healthy habit isn’t going to become a part of your daily routine overnight. As you begin using these tips, try to remain patient.
When you’re struggling, turn to others for help. They could help you identify new techniques for remaining consistent.
Don’t be too hard on yourself, either. Instead, maintain realistic expectations about what you’re capable of within a specific timeframe. Unrealistic expectations will only put pressure on your shoulders, which could cause your motivation to drop.
One of the best ways to form healthy lifestyle habits is by using triggers.
Try associating a behavior you already complete daily with a habit you want to form. For example, when you wake up in the morning, you brush your teeth. When you’re stomach growls, you eat.
Some triggers can cause unhealthy habits. For example, you might grab a snack each time you sit down in front of the TV. Identify these negative triggers to start making healthy changes to your routine.
Prepare for Roadblocks
As you begin using these tips, you might experience roadblocks along the way. Maybe you want to eat healthier but friends keep asking you out to dinner. Identify the roadblocks you might experience ahead of time.
Then, look for ways to counter them.
For example, the next time your friends ask you out, have a healthy restaurant you can recommend in mind ahead of time.
Change Your Life: Start Building Your Own Healthy Habit Today
Forming a healthy habit takes a little consistency and focus. However, it is possible! Use these tips as you begin forming your own healthy lifestyle habits.
Stick with it and remain consistent until your new habits become a part of your daily life.
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