How to Make Healthy Habits Stick

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Healthy habits don’t come overnight, but with practice, patience, and persistence you can create a healthier, happier lifestyle no matter what your starting point is. Regardless of what your goals might be, there are numerous ways to get into the routine of doing (and enjoying) healthy habits. The key to making good habits stick is to discover what keeps you committed, motivated, and inspired. Let’s take a look at a few options for incorporating healthy rituals into your routine.

Schedule It on Your Calendar

One of the most common excuses is “I don’t have enough time.” If you prioritize what matters to you most and commit to your goals, you’ll make the time for it. Even the busiest person can manage to get in a daily workout or meditation if it’s on the calendar.

First, be clear about your goal. Then look at your calendar and actually schedule the time. If time is in short supply, it might mean starting small. For example, commit to waking up 20 minutes earlier three days a week to make time for a morning walk. You can always add or make changes later, but start somewhere that seems manageable. And be open to sacrificing time spent elsewhere that isn’t serving you.

Write Down Your Plan

Writing things down helps bring clarity to any situation. It’s easy to get excited about an idea but never get beyond that. However, creating a step-by-step action plan for reaching your goal can be very motivating and help keep you on track. Here are a few questions to consider:

  • Why do you want to make this change?
  • What results do you want to see from it?
  • When are the best days/times for you?
  • How do you want this new habit to make you feel?

Consider this document your personal action plan and make it happen! Calendaring reminders and putting up motivational quotes or pictures around your home or desk may also inspire you.

Get in the Routine

The best thing you can do to nurture a new habit is to build it into your routine. Through practice and persistence, your new healthy habit can prevail simply through daily repetition. Think about all of the habits you wish you could undo–those didn’t happen overnight. Commit to your new healthy habit for 21 to 30 days, and over time, the process may become second nature. You might find yourself enjoying it!

Don’t Sweat Slip-Ups

Be willing to recommit. Don’t beat yourself up for those days when you don’t follow through, or you let temptation got the best of you. These days are bound to happen every now and again. But don’t let that be your excuse to fall off track and never start back up again. Give yourself a break and recommit to start again the next day. Every day is a new opportunity to restart your commitment fresh.

Partner Up

Grab a friend or family member to join you! Whether you’re adding exercise or mindful eating to your routine, it will be more fun and perhaps even easier if you feel like you have someone on your team. Partnering up means you’ll both be accountable to each other, and will be more likely to follow through. Pick someone you enjoying spending time with so you’ll both stay motivated.

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Now is the time to walk the walk if you want to get into spinning or take a cooking class or join a running club. Although you don’t need to spend money to create new healthy habits, doing so can motivate you to get into that class or workshop you’ve been talking about for ages. No one likes losing money, so if you invest in something that benefits your health, you’re less likely to skip on it. So sign up for a membership. Pay for the package. Buy the book. Get to class.

Shake Things Up

Living a healthy and happy lifestyle is supposed to be fun. But even if you love your new health regimen in the beginning, it’s common to fall into a comfort zone eventually, which can get old. Get creative and mix things up. Try setting new goals to find your edge. Explore new activities and sync up others who share the same health interests. Meet in new locations. There are many layers of learning to any activity or piece of information, so continue to grow, share, learn–and enjoy!

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The One Medical blog is published by One Medical, an innovative primary care practice with offices in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Washington, DC.