4 Ways to Make Healthy Habits Stick
Let's say you are sitting inside the doctor’s office, waiting to get back some important results, when your physician finally emerges from behind the door appearing grim and hesitant to speak. You ask him what’s going on only to have him continue to look down and say the words no one wants to hear.
“I have some bad news.”
This is the exact situation you’ve feared your entire life. You’ve heard of friends getting bad news from their physicians but you could never ever believe you would be next. No way you could become the next statistic.
Unfortunately, this is a situation that happens daily within doctor’s offices. Whether you’re diagnosed with some form of cancer, diabetes, an autoimmune disease or some other chronic illness, being diagnosed with something serious can and will completely alter our lives forever.
So, what can we do to prevent this real life horror from occuring in our lives?
Well, when individuals come face to face with reality and their backs are pushed against the wall, that is typically when they decide to act which is really too late. We have to act sooner! The only problem that I see most of the time when individuals do act is they do a complete pendulum swing to the other extreme. They join the latest fad diet, dramatically reduce calories, exercise a few times expecting a magical transformation in less than a month.
We know thanks to science and the power of habits why this pendulum swing to one extreme to the other can be dangerous in it’s own ways. However, when the proper habits and coaching are in place, real magic can happen, slowly but surely. So, before our wellness becomes too severe, how can we make healthy habits stick in our lives? Well, author of the best selling book “Atomic Habits,” James Clear has some suggestions. These are those suggestions...
Make Habits Obvious
Remember the old saying, “out of sight, out of mind?” Well, it’s the truth. In today’s digital world where we are constantly distracted by pings and dings from cell phones, radios, podcasts, etc. it’s no wonder why we suffer from such squirrel brains. Whatever our goals may be, we have to make sure we are constantly reminded of them. Writing our goals down on a calendar or notepad then hanging them up in consistently traveled locations (office, bedroom, bathroom, car) helps greatly to remind ourselves to stay focused on the end goal.
Make Habits Attractive
You mean instead of watching TV when I get home from work I have to go workout? Doesn’t sound too appealing does it? In the beginning of our health journeys, we cannot use results as a tool to motivate us to move forward so we must rely on something else. Our environment plays a huge role in achieving any goal in life, especially weight loss. It might not be fun to leave work and not be able to go home and crash on the couch but what if you went to a group fitness class where you were surrounded by like-minded individuals trying to better themselves? Going to workout at the end of a long work day doesn’t sound so bad if it means joining up with friends and performing a fun activity to some loud music - Zumba class, Crossfit class, adult basketball league, etc.
Make Habits Easy
When people look at transforming their health, they typically will look at the end goal. Then they proceed to get intimidated by the sometimes mountainous amount of work that it’s going to take to achieve that goal. Hence why most quit before ever getting started officially. Instead, establish your primary goal and begin breaking them down into smaller, more tangible actions you can do each day that will eventually get you to your primary objective. Want to run a marathon? Well, what do runners do each day to build up towards that milestone? What do they eat daily, what do they do for their recovery, how many runs per week do they do and how did they start when they were beginners? Focus on one day at a time! The time is going to pass anyways, might as well get a reward from it!
Make Habits Satisfying
If we have a considerable amount of weight to lose, it doesn’t feel too satisfying knowing that it’s going to take several visits to the gym and saying goodbye temporarily to our favorite sweets to achieve our goals. This deters more people from achieving a healthier lifestyle than anything else - the notion that we have to dramatically cut out enjoyable things in our lives to achieve a particular goal. Salads, sweating and counting calories? Who the hell wants to do that? This is when having the right coach in place is so beneficial.
Whenever I’ve coached my clients, I ask them what exactly are their “non-negotiables?” Does eating pizza on a Friday night with their family bring them enjoyment? Then don’t cut it out! Achieving a healthy lifestyle shouldn’t feel like a prison sentence! Determine what is really satisfying to you in your life, what will motivate you to move forward each week? Can you reward yourself with that facial or massage if you achieve a consistent week of hitting your calorie goals? Use these rewards as a way to keep you progressing forward but be sure to have an accountability buddy that will hold you to not receiving that reward if you have a misstep!
Establishing healthy habits into our lives and making sure they stick isn’t the easiest thing but with the right coach, the right environment, encouragement from others and more, you can do this! Simply take one day at a time and realize that achieving a healthy lifestyle is a marathon, not a sprint. If you’d like to learn more about establishing healthy habits into your life, I encourage you to reserve your spot for my next Healthy Habits Challenge.
"Coach Taz" aka Taylor Rodriguez is owner and head coach of Taz Fitness & Nutrition. He is a Personal Trainer & Nutrition Coach located in Deltona, FL that coaches individuals online and in person. Taylor was a former partying pro wrestler turned fitness enthusiast after the economic downturn of 2008-2010. After losing almost 70 lbs, his new passion is to help struggling individuals find a new confidence within themselves to achieve any goal that they see possible. To begin coaching with Taylor or to request a free consultation, contact us today.
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