I have a passion for creating long-lasting, healthy habits. After reading the book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business, I was brimming with energy to translate this into immediate action steps I could apply into my life. Breaking old unhealthy habits is never easy. However, in order to begin any process of change, we have to start by asking ourselves a few very important questions.
What Are Examples Of Some Healthy Habits?
When it comes to establishing healthy habits, I like to break them down into different categories of where these habits can occur in your life:
- Quality of food
- Quantity of food
- Emotional mindset around food and eating
- Eating to feel and look healthy
- Avoiding sedentary behavior
- Finding a consistent routine
- Improving pain
- Improving endorphins to lift your mood
- Exercising to feel and look fit
- Work-life balance
- Relationships with colleagues
- Relationships with significant other / children / family
- Relationships with friends and acquaintances
- Relationship with yourself
There are definitely more! But this is a good starting point to highlight which area(s) in your life needs particular TLC.
How To Get Started With A Healthy Habit
Review the list above, and pick ONE area in your life you want to focus your attention on.
Now ask yourself; “WHY is this important to me? WHY do I want to create a lifelong healthy habit from this?”
Here’s my example:
Currently, I am 25 weeks pregnant. While I understand that pregnancy weight gain comes with the beautiful act of growing our baby girl, I also want to keep my diet as clean as possible to reduce inflammation.
The healthy habit I want to strengthen is to reduce my intake of dairy and processed foods- especially gluten. The reason why this is important to me, is because I know that my body responds in an inflammatory way to these food groups.
With excess dairy and processed carbs, my face becomes puffy and swollen, I feel bloated and lethargic, and it typically derails my intention to maintain a healthy diet. I end up gravitating toward sweets and bread, making the cycle that much tougher to break.
The reason why I want to create a healthy habit from reducing dairy / gluten is simple: the healthier I can continue to eat, the more nutrition my growing baby girl will receive. Ultimately, I want to have as healthy of a pregnancy as possible for myself and for my daughter so she can have a head-start on her own healthy lifestyle as soon as she is born.
⏯️ YOUR TURN: On a piece of paper, write down what area of your life needs some TLC. Within that, think about unhealthy habits you’ve established that you want to re-write. Write down WHAT new healthy habit you want to create and WHY it is important to you.
Identifying The Barriers Preventing Your Change
Now that you have clarity on what new healthy habit you want to create, let’s dig deeper into the “tough stuff.”
Where does it get hard?
What conversation do you have in your head that convinces you to revert to old (unhealthy) habits?
Here’s my example, again:
Usually I can get through the first three days of my new diet change without much effort. However, if there is any cream cheese in the fridge (for my husband), or loaves of bread in the fridge, all I can think about is wanting toast with cream cheese!
It becomes that much harder when I’m out socializing with others. Cheese and cracker appetizers, bread rolls at dinner, and homemade chocolate chip cookies on a plate sitting directly in front of me, always tempt me to break my healthy habit!
I tell myself; “No one will know if I have a small piece of cheese. Or, it’s not so bad if I just have a little piece of the bread instead of the whole roll. Or, I’ll restart my efforts tomorrow because it would be rude NOT to accept this warm chocolate chip cookie that my hostess slaved all day in the kitchen baking!”
⏯️ YOUR TURN: What barriers typically prevent you from making long-lasting progress toward you creating a healthy habit?
Breaking Down Your Healthy Habit Barriers
When we can anticipate potential road blocks or social situations where we’ll be tempted to old habits, it’s important to have a plan.
IF / THEN plans work well here.
Here’s my example:
IF…. I open the fridge and am tempted to make cream cheese toast, THEN…I will move the bread into the freezer, and tuck the cream cheese toward the back of the shelf where I can’t see it easily. I will then let my husband know that these two things are making it hard for me to stay on track and will ask him if I can either toss them, or hold off on buying more of them the next time we’re at the grocery store.
IF… I go to a friend’s house for dinner and am surrounded by dairy and gluten foods, THEN… I will step away from the table so I am not staring directly at them and am more than an arm’s reach away so it would be difficult to grab at them. I can also bring my own appetizers and healthy desserts (like fruit), so I know that I’ll have an option to have so that I won’t feel deprived.
⏯️ YOUR TURN: Write down 1-2 “IF/THEN” scenarios that have previously stalled your progress.
Making Your Healthy Habit Changes Last Long-Term
Long-term success is definitely more accomplishable with accountability.
Do you have a friend or loved one with a similar goal? Buddy up together to keep each other accountable! Then, jump into the Facebook Group and join the CHAIN CHALLENGE!
Don’t worry if you missed the start of the challenge- you can still get started TODAY and compete with the leaders to see if you can break their streak! Here’s what to do:
- Head to the Facebook Group and type “I accept the CHAIN CHALLENGE”
- Grab your Healthy Habit Workbook so you can keep track of your chain
- Update us regularly with your progress so we can cheer you on!
Jumping Back In After Slip-Ups
Listen- I like to keep things real here. It’s tough re-wiring old, engrained habits.
Perhaps you’re doing a great job right out of the gate but after 48 hours, you find yourself slipping up.
Rather than beat yourself up, this is a great opportunity for you to dig a little deeper into what caused you to trip.
Evaluate these questions:
- Where were you when your slip-up occurred?
- What time was it?
- What was your emotional state?
- Who else was around?
- What were you doing right before you slipped up?
- Has this slip-up happened in the past?
Look for the pattern.
Here’s my example:
When I slip up, I’m typically around other people and feel social pressure to give up on my new healthy habit efforts.
Usually, it’s at a social event that’s at night when I’m winding down from a busy day and I just want to relax and not make any mental decisions anymore. When I’m around others, I can very easily be convinced that my health goals can be postponed, or that I can come back to them later.
Sometimes I feel guilty for making a healthy change that other’s aren’t necessarily doing themselves. I almost feel rude for not eating everything that is offered to me, or for turning down a dessert offering.
I’m typically in close proximity to the foods I’m trying to avoid, so when I am feeling social pressure to break my chain of healthy habits, the foods are right there for me to grab without thinking.
⏯️ YOUR TURN: After evaluating the list of questions above, what pattern have you identified that cause you to slip-up?
Once you know your pattern, add or edit your “IF/THEN” statement by including your WHY.
IF….I’m socializing at a late night dinner party and I feel pressure to break my chain of healthy habit creation, THEN…. I will not feel guilty or rude for politely declining certain foods… SO THAT I can create a healthier body for myself and my growing baby that is deterrent of inflammation.
What’s Your New Healthy Habit Going To Be?
Share the new healthy habit you’d like to create for long-lasting success in the Comments Section below.