How do I get my healthy habits back? This is a very common question this time of the year.
And to ease back into a healthy routine after the holidays without feeling so overwhelmed that I give up altogether.
The first step is deciding to move forward by focusing on the future rather than what happened in the past.
The next step is to take stock of your present habits and drop the habits that aren’t serving you while adding some new ones. More on this later…
“Mindset is everything”
Developing healthful routines requires more than just a change in behaviour; it also requires a mindset shift.
With the right frame of mind, the process of re-establishing healthy habits can be much less daunting and more manageable, increasing the likelihood of success.
Step 1- Start Small
It’s not easy to rebuild healthy habits, especially if you try to make too many adjustments all at once. Trying to change multiple habits at once can feel overwhelming making it difficult to stick to any of them.
Taking baby steps and being patient with yourself are the keys to reaching your goals.
- Pick one or two habits that you want to rebuild on and focus on those.
- For example: If you want to start exercising more, for instance, you could walk a shorter distance each day and work up to a longer one over time.
- Create an action plan.
- Write down your habit goals and come up with a plan of action for how you will achieve them.
- Be specific and include details such as when and where you will perform the habit.
If you want to achieve your goals, you need to write them down. Numerous studies have shown that vividly describing your goals in written form is strongly associated with goal success.
You can read more about this here.
Step 2 -Set SMART goals
I like to talk about goals that are SMART.
Why you may ask… well because when you set SMART Goals you can clarify your ideas and focus your efforts, which allows you to allocate your time in a way that promises the most return and the highest chance of achieving your goals.
SMART is an acronym and a SMART Goal is something that is: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound.
- Specific – What specifically do you want to achieve? What will it look like?
- Measurable – How can you track progress?
- Achievable – With some stretch, are these achievable?
- Realistic – Again, with stretch, are these in range?
- Timebound – What’s the time frame on this—next week, end of June, early 2023?
Here are some examples of specific healthy eating goals that are SMART:
- I will eat a piece of fruit for my afternoon snack on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday next week instead of a cookie or potato chips.
- I will take a healthy lunch to work on Tuesday and Thursday next week instead of grabbing fast food.
Step 3- Identify Obstacles
Identify and remove any obstacles that may be preventing you from sticking to your habit.
“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” – Henry Ford
Here are some tips to help you:
- Identify things and situations that trip you up – what might hold up your progress with this goal?
- Brainstorm solutions to the above (think of previous success)
- Tweak your plan if necessary
- If you find that a lack of time is preventing you from exercising, try waking up earlier or taking a shorter workout.
Step 4 – Practice Self-compassion
It’s important to keep in mind that re-establishing healthy habits is a journey, and that bumps in the road are to be expected along the way.
When you practice self-compassion, you’re less likely to beat yourself up for mistakes and more likely to keep going. By being more patient and understanding with yourself, you’ll be less likely to give up on your dreams and more likely to succeed.
“Self-compassion is an inner strength that enables us to admit our shortcomings, forgive ourselves, and begin again.” – Kristin Neff
Here are a few ways to practice self-compassion:
- Talk to yourself as you would talk to a friend. When you make a mistake or experience a setback, instead of criticizing yourself, speak to yourself with kindness and understanding.
- Practice mindfulness. Notice and acknowledge your thoughts and feelings without judgment, and try to observe them without getting caught up in them.
- Give yourself permission to be imperfect. Remember that everyone makes mistakes and has flaws, and that it’s okay to not be perfect
It’s important to remember that self-compassion is a skill that can be developed over time with practice, it’s something that you can improve with time and patience.
Step 5- Be Consistent
Consistency is key when it comes to rebuilding healthy habits. Try to make your new habits a part of your daily routine so that they become second nature.
I believe that consistency is one of the major keys to achieving your goals. Do less but do it consistently!
This quote says it all: “We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day”-Richard G. Scott
Here are some tips to help you:
- Create one habit/behaviour at a time and be consistent with it.
- It will become second nature after a while.
- Set a goal for practicing that particular behaviour.
- You can use a calendar to track your behaviour over 1 month
- Reward yourself for being consistent.
And lastly adopting the right mindset is crucial when rebuilding healthy habits. This requires changing deeply ingrained patterns of behaviour, which can be difficult to do. Working on one’s mindset can help make the process of changing habits easier by addressing underlying beliefs and attitudes that may be contributing to the habit.
Working with a coach can help you change your psychological triggers which can be beneficial for forming new habits.
Now it’s over to you…
- What do you do mindlessly out of habit?
I would love to hear your feedback, thoughts and any questions you have on this article.
Please tell me in the comments below.