Habit building is the key to effectuating positive change. The actions you practice every day are what build your reality. Building new habits doesn’t have to be an unpleasant experience, there are things you can do to make the process easier, and dare I say even semi enjoyable. If you want to make adjustments to live a healthier life, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 5 steps that will help you take your first right actions and build healthy habits. Happy habit building!
Get clear on what habits you want to start practicing and what habits you’d like to kick to the curb. Be specific. If you want to build habits that will help you lead a healthier lifestyle, take time to determine what specifically will make you feel healthier and what you’d like to change.
Don’t say this: “I want to be healthier.”
Say this: “I want to eat green vegetables two times a day.”
If you want to build habits that will help you drink less, determine how many drinks you’d like to reduce your consumption to.
Don’t say this: "I want to drink less."
Say this: “I want to have two drinks a week.”
Be specific. The more specific and clear you are on what you want to do, the easier it will be to make a plan and stick to it. Start your day by looking at your clear and specific goal. Write it in your journal as your intention, hang a post-it on your mirror, and set a reminder for it to pop up on your phone. Until you get the new habit down as part of your routine, have your goal somewhere you will see it every day.
Figure out why it is that you want to make these lifestyle adjustments. Get to the root of why you want to change things. Think about the following questions and journal about how unhealthy habits make you feel.
For example, if you want to organize your house, determine why. Perhaps it’s so you have a streamlined routine and it’s easier to leave in the morning. Having a strong why that resonates with you will help keep you on track. Taking time to determine your why will help you figure out if you’re making adjustments for the right reasons. Is more going on for you than just wanting to make some adjustments in your life? Get curious.
You may have heard the quote: “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” It’s true. Success in achieving your goals starts with planning. A productive day starts with planning the night before. Eating healthy dinners is much easier when you plan what you’re going to eat for the week instead of attempting to make healthy decisions when you finish work and you’re tired and hungry and takeout sounds delicious.
Once you’re clear on your goals make a plan for how you will go about achieving those goals. Get specific, write it down, and put it in your calendar. Have "the how" decided so when you’re in the moment all you have to do is follow the prescribed steps you’ve set for yourself. Do the thinking beforehand so that when the moment comes, you don’t have to both stick to your goals and figure out how you’re going to stick to your goals.
Write your why on a piece of paper and place it in a high traffic area where you’ll see it every day. Some ideas on where to place your why: on the door before you leave the house, on your refrigerator, on the TV remote, next to your bed so you’ll see it every morning and every night.
Coordinate with a friend or hire a coach that will check in on you and help hold you accountable. If the plan you’ve made doesn’t seem to be working, hire a coach to help you make a plan that will work.
Make your undesirable habits harder to access. For example, don’t buy food that doesn’t make you feel your best, unplug your Xbox, keep your phone out of the room when you’re working, or place your alarm clock on the other side of the room so it’s harder to hit snooze in the morning.
Make your desirable habits easier to implement. For example, move your exercise equipment upstairs from the basement, place the apples in the middle of the counter, or set a reminder on your phone to meditate. The easier and more streamlined you can make your desirable habits, the more likely you are to do them. There are so many ways you can get creative and make building healthy habits a pleasant experience. After doing your habits for a week, treat yourself to something fun that doesn’t go against the habit you’re trying to create!
You become what you identify as. If you identify as someone who works out every day, you’ll work out every day. If you identify as a reader, you'll read more often.
Pay attention to the narratives you’re feeding yourself because those narratives become your reality. Foster a positive inner voice, not one that beats you down. If you fall off your new habits along the way, pay attention to what that inner voice is telling you. If your inner voice is mean, you want to change it to one of love and acceptance. Instead of harping over the times you didn’t stick to your habits or plan, determine what you can learn from it and leave it in the past. There is no such thing as perfect and it’s okay to fall off your goals. Gently remind yourself of your why and tweak things so it’s less likely that you’ll fall off next time. Extend yourself grace when doing hard things. You’re a masterpiece and they take time.
If you would like individualized assistance in creating healthier habits in your life, sign up for coaching. With my coaching sessions, you can contact me throughout the day when you need help staying on track. This real-time assistance is a gamer changer when you’re implementing new practices into your life.
MyWellbeing member, Alyssa Kelliher, Esq, is a Lifestyle Coach and an Attorney. Alyssa enables her client’s to create a positive impact in their lives through behavioral changes. Alyssa specializes in helping her clients achieve their unique goals while prioritizing overall health, happiness, and well-being. If you’re feeling stuck, Alyssa will guide you to take actionable steps towards progress. Start being present in a life you enjoy. To start coaching with Alyssa contact her at her website or visit Alyssa’s profile to schedule a consultation today.