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How to start (and sustain) healthy habits

January 02, 2024 3 min read

How to start (and sustain) healthy habits

What’s your new year's resolution? In the fast-paced world we live in, finding the balance between work, personal life, and self-care can be challenging. Establishing healthy habits is a key component of maintaining overall well-being. Whether you want to improve your physical health, enhance your mental well-being, or achieve a specific goal, creating healthy habits is the foundation for lasting positive change. In this article, we'll share actionable steps to help you cultivate and sustain healthy habits that’ll stick with you for the long game.

1. Set Clear and Attainable Goals:

To create a healthy habit, start by setting specific, realistic, and achievable goals. Instead of a vague resolution like "exercise more," consider a goal such as "walk for 30 minutes every day" or "practise mindful meditation for 10 minutes each morning." Clear goals provide direction and make it easier to track your progress.

2. Start Small:

Begin with manageable changes to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Small, consistent actions are more sustainable than drastic overhauls. For instance, if your goal is to drink more water, start by adding an extra glass each day and gradually increase the intake over time. Building on small successes fosters a sense of accomplishment and motivates you to continue.

3. Create a Routine:

Habits thrive in routines. Establish a designated time for your new habit, whether it's morning exercise, an afternoon stretch break, or nightly reading. Consistency is key to ingraining the behaviour into your daily life. Over time, routines become automatic, making it easier to adhere to your healthy habits.

4. Use Reminders:

In the hustle and bustle of daily life, it's easy to forget new habits. Set reminders on your phone, leave sticky notes in visible places, or integrate your habit into existing routines. By linking your new behaviour with existing activities, such as doing a quick workout after brushing your teeth, you're more likely to remember and integrate the habit seamlessly.

5. Track Your Progress:

Keep a journal or use a habit-tracking app to monitor your progress. Documenting your achievements not only helps you stay accountable but also allows you to reflect on the positive impact your new habit is having on your well-being. Celebrate milestones, no matter how small, to stay motivated.

6. Seek Support:

Share your goals with friends, family, or colleagues who can offer encouragement and support. Having a support system can make the journey more enjoyable and provide motivation during challenging times. Consider joining a fitness class, book club, or online community that aligns with your chosen habit for added encouragement.

7. Embrace Flexibility:

Life is dynamic, and unexpected events can disrupt routines. Instead of viewing deviations as failures, see them as opportunities to learn and adjust. Be flexible and adapt your habits to accommodate changes in your schedule or circumstances.

8. Focus on the Benefits:
Remind yourself of the positive outcomes associated with your new habit. Whether it's increased energy, improved mood, or progress toward a larger goal, keeping the benefits in mind reinforces the value of your efforts and encourages continued commitment.

Creating healthy habits is a journey that requires patience, consistency, and a positive mindset. By setting clear goals, starting small, establishing routines, using reminders, tracking progress, seeking support, embracing flexibility, and focusing on the benefits, you can build habits that contribute to a healthier, happier lifestyle. Remember, small steps lead to significant changes over time, so be patient and enjoy the process.