As we get older, we gain a better understanding of what it takes to build a healthy lifestyle. Eating nutritious foods, exercising often, and getting good sleep are just a few examples of good habits people aim to establish. Here at Montes Medical, we encourage our patients to make healthy choices that improve their lives for years to come.
However, there is a big difference between knowing what you have to do and actually doing it. For most people, integrating healthy habits into their life can be quite difficult. Sadly, it’s just not that easy to change how one has been functioning for years.
The new year is typically a time when people choose to reset and commit to becoming a better version of themselves. Although many of us do make some progress, most of the time the changes only last for a few months before we fall back into our previous way of living. In fact, around 80% of people fail at their New Year’s resolutions, with many giving up before February ends.
We wanted to highlight some ways to establish healthy habits that actually last for a long time. It’s important to understand that any major lifestyle change takes time, support, and careful planning. Thankfully, by following the tips below, you can increase your chances of establishing healthy habits for years to come!
Set SMART goals
Setting SMART goals makes it easier to build long-lasting healthy habits
Psychologists always recommend that people set goals that follow the SMART outline, which looks like this:
- Specific - Break down exactly what you’re going to do. (e.g. eating two cups of vegetables a day)
- Measurable - Make sure to track your progress and measure what you’re actually doing as time goes on
- Achievable - Your goals should be within reach and possible for you to achieve. Starting small helps in this regard.
- Realistic - Focus on changes you’re confident you can make.
- Timed - Schedule when you’ll take action and commit some time to your new goals
By following this format, people can find clarity around how exactly they’re going to establish healthy habits. This makes it easier and more likely that someone will get results and make progress towards their end goals.
You may have heard the term “take baby steps” when embarking on a new challenge. This is excellent advice for people looking to build healthy habits. Small changes are easier to implement and often evolve into bigger shifts down the line.
For example, if you’re looking to be more active, commit to walking a certain number of steps a week. Over the next few months, you can gradually increase your steps until you reach your desired end goal.
Focus on One Habit at a Time
Making more time to cook is a great way to create healthy eating habits
When aiming to set good habits, it’s helpful to focus on one change at a time. In fact, many people run into issues when trying to change multiple habits at the same time.
It’s quite a feat just to change one behavior successfully, and doing so will require a good amount of time and focus. Once you gain some traction in one habit, you can try to add another goal to your list.
Plan for Setbacks
When building healthy habits, it can be helpful to acknowledge that there may be some setbacks along your journey. Thinking about setbacks before they happen can make it easier to overcome them later on.
You can also try to forecast and prevent potential problems from happening. For example, if you know you have trouble committing to a workout, try to sign up a buddy to go with you. Planning for these situations is smart and makes it even more likely you’ll stick to your new habits.
Aiming to bike more often is an excellent example of a healthy goal
In conclusion, there are many great ways to encourage the formation of healthy habits. Set SMART goals that provide clarity around your journey and don’t try to take on too much at once.
Taking small but consistent steps in the right direction will eventually lead to big changes and well-established habits that last in the long-run. Give yourself credit for embarking on a new challenge and good luck!
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