How to make your new healthy habits actually stick
They say it takes 66 days on average to form a habit. But how exactly do you get to that 66th day? A personal trainer and a psychologist weigh in.
2020 has been challenging for many reasons. Life is still upside down for many of us, making it harder to form, and stick to, healthy habits—especially when the fridge is *right there*, taunting us from our work-from-home setup.
But if you refuse to give up, here are some tried-and-true methods for establishing and then setting your new healthier habit in stone.
It’s important to set yourself achievable goals, says clinical psychologist Lindsay Perlman. Otherwise, you risk yourself falling short, causing you to feel discouraged and lose your momentum.
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“Make sure you don’t take on too many habits at once and also assess whether these habits are realistic and achievable. It is important to set some SMART goals to help make your healthy habit stick,” she says, SMART standing for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
But if that does happen, don’t beat yourself up over it. Accept slip-ups might occur along the way.
“Change takes time and can often be met with challenges and hiccups along the way. So if and when this does happen, remember to be kinder and compassionate to yourself,” she says.
“It’s normal to sometimes lack motivation and perhaps fall back into our old unhealthy habits.”
30 days is a good initial goal
PT and founder of Flow Athletics Ben Lucas recommends giving yourself an initial goal of three workouts a week for four weeks, and mix it up: one cardio, one strength, and one yoga session to give both your mind and body the benefits of movement and focusing on the breath.
“Like with your morning coffee and your weekend wine, doing an activity repetitively, again and again, is what makes it become second nature. That is why we recommend a reset,” he says.
He recommends being strict with yourself for three to four weeks, so cut out all alcohol, processed foods, and refined sugar ideally for 30 days.
“After a week or so, you should find that your body is craving healthier options,” he says.
A friend will make you accountable
A workout buddy is a great way of ensuring you stick to your goals. After all, they’ll give you someone to answer to should your motivation wane (so long as they’re as committed as you are).
“It’s a great way to make sure you show up for each other,” he says.
“You can compare notes of recipes, workouts and instructors, not to mention all the motivational podcasts and articles that you find along the way.”
Recording what you eat and how you exercise, whether it be through an app, digital notes or even good old pen and paper, is a great way to solidify and visualise your journey.
When you see it on paper (or on a screen), it’s rewarding and therefore makes you want to keep going.
Some helping hands along the way
There are also a few items that might motivate you make those healthier choices a permanent part of your daily routine. Whether it’s drinking more water, or remembering to take a few minutes out of every day to jot down your thoughts and feelings, having the right tools can make all the difference.
#1. To help get your butt to the gym…
Slipping on a cute crop top that’s every bit just as cute as it is supportive will help make skipping your early morning workout a thing of the past. Oh, and you’ve got to check out the back of this beauty.
Shop it: Crop, $49.99, Nike at rebel
#2. To help you drink more water…
A sleek water carafe and glass will turn you daily H2O goal into something you want to achieve, rather than a chore. Fill me up!
Shop it: Maison Balzac carafe and glass set, $89, at David Jones
#3. To help nourish from the inside…
Taking a daily collagen supplement is a sure-fire way to feed your inner glow, but can be easy step to forget. This iteration from Vida Glow comes in individualised sachets, so is perfect to add to your morning tea or coffee – or grab and go.
Shop it: Vida Glow original collagen, $59.95 at Adore Beauty
To help you stay mindful…
Journalling is an effective way to process emotions, get focused on your goals and stay in the present moment, not matter what’s going on around you. Having a beautiful place to put those thoughts can only help make it part of your daily practise.
Shop it: Pledge to Stay Well journal, $49.95, at Saint Belford
#5. To help you stay connected
Daily podcast are a great way to integrate healthier habits into your morning routine – even if they’re short. May we suggest Body+Soul’s Healthy-ish podcast? The eps are made for helping you made one healthier decision each day. A quality pair of noise cancelling headphones will make your daily downloading that little bit easier.