How to create healthy habits that stick
Hands up if you’ve ever decided that this is the month, the season, the year that you are going to get it all together. You’re going to eat more veggies, workout every day, and get eight hours of sleep every night. You’re going to cut out caffeine...and alcohol…and sugar…and stress…and…Sound familiar? And now, keep that hand raised if you’ve ever struggled to turn that vision into a reality. If you’ve decided that transforming your lifestyle was much easier said than done, and at some point, gave up. Oh, yes. Been there.
So, if we know that eating right, moving more, and stressing less will make us look and feel better in the short-term, and will likely increase our lifespans in the long-term, why wouldn’t we just do it? Because letting go of old habits is hard, and creating and sticking to new ones is even harder. Hard…but not impossible. How do I know this? Because every day, I get to celebrate victories with clients who are feeling great, looking fabulous, meeting their goals, and creating new, long-lasting healthy habits.
Celebrating is exactly what my beloved client (and now also a good friend!), Nathalie, and I are doing in this picture. Nathalie met her ideal weight and lost 17 lbs in a way that worked best for her without feeling too deprived. She also improved digestion and gut health, boosted her energy levels, identified a few foods that she didn’t know she was sensitive to and swapped hormone therapy for a cleaner eating routine.
The net net? She learned how to eat best for her body type and lifestyle. Proud of you, Nathalie! The trick is to know how to do all this…or at least to work with someone who does! ☺
Read on to learn my five tips for creating healthy habits that stick!
And if you want to learn how I can help, SCHEDULE a 20-minute complimentary Discovery Call with me.
1. Figure out your ‘why.’
Everyone’s goals are personal, and so too are their motivations for getting there. I know it seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how often a client gets stumped when I ask her to dig deep and tell me why she is ready to get healthy. And it’s not enough to just think that you ‘should.’
Here’s the deal: creating and sticking to healthy habits isn’t always going to be easy, so you’d better have a good reason for putting yourself through it! That way, when the going gets tough—and it will--you are able to keep your eyes on your ‘why’ to help you stay the course.
2. Aim high…but aim smart.
I think this is probably one of the most common mistakes people who are trying to get healthy will make. It always makes me think of New Year’s resolutions…come January 1st, people decide they are going to run a marathon, lose 20 pounds, give up eating meat. By February 1st (sometimes sooner), these goals are often distant memories. It’s not that resolution-makers’ intentions aren’t good—they are. But they are setting themselves up for failure and frustration by trying to go from zero to 60 in the blink of an eye without a plan for execution.
I do recommend that my clients start big. In fact, I’ve seen the best results—weight loss, improved digestion, diminished bloating, and increased energy, when we eliminate as many unhealthy habits as a client is willing and ready to take a break from right at the beginning of the program.
The difference? First, just by virtue of working with me, a client has taken that important first step in her head: commitment. Second, we’re not going in blind. We have a solid game plan, and it’s one that has been designed specifically with this particular client in mind. Once she sees how quickly her body jumps aboard the healthy train, she feels totally motivated to keep the good results coming.
3. Don’t go it alone.
We’ve established that the road to adopting a healthy lifestyle can be a difficult one, so why go it alone? Having someone in your corner (like me!) to help you establish your goals, devise an achievable plan, and guide you through every step of the process, can go a long way towards easing your burden. Recruiting friends or family to help support you on your journey can also increase the likelihood that you’ll stick with it in a big way.
A huge piece of it is accountability. Knowing that I’ll be checking on your progress regularly, knowing that you’ll be logging your food choices in a journal, knowing that your support system is pulling for you, will act as fuel for your fire to keep at it.
4. Be consistent.
Research tells us that it takes two months to create healthy habits, three months for them to become a routine, and 4 months for them to last. And this is the pillar I used to build my 3 nutrition coaching programs: Reset, Restore, and Transform.
Repetition and consistency are incredibly important when it comes to helping new behaviors take hold, and turning them into lifelong habits. This is where the combination of true motivation, mixed with a concrete plan, and a mighty support system will really pay off in spades.
5. Be okay with imperfect.
Just as important as consistency? Flexibility. If there’s one thing we can count on, it’s that life happens. I can promise you there will be bumps on the road—missed workouts, less-than-perfect food choices, second (and third) cocktails, stress-filled days, and sleepless nights. You need to accept this at the outset and be okay with it. That way, when the inevitable imperfections happen, you don’t let them derail you from your goals. You knew they were coming. You pick up, dust off, and keep on going!
My mantra (or one of them ☺) is that the only plan that works for you is the one you can stick to. For any routine to become a habit, it simply has to work within the realities of your life—or it is bound for failure. This is why it is so important to me to design an individual plan for each client I work with, taking into consideration not just her goals, but her lifestyle, her time constraints, her work and family obligations, and her personal preferences.
Ready to commit to the healthiest you?
SCHEDULE a 20-minute complimentary Discovery Call with me and learn how I can help.