It’s the time of year when everyone wants to build new habits, and “getting in shape” is always one of the most popular New Year resolutions. But, do you know how to build healthy new habits?
I love it, of course, and welcome everyone who’s starting a new exercise program this month – and all my current and returning clients who are back for more strength, endurance, power, and agility. And don’t forget those who are working on improving their eating behaviors.
Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of people build healthy habits that last long after the holiday thrill fades. How’d they do it? Here are some common success factors for you to keep in mind.
How to Build Healthy New Habits
- Set SMART goals
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. So, apply this to building habits, as well. Instead of saying, “I will exercise more,” say, “I’m going to the gym three times a week for at least 30 minutes through January, and then I will add 15 minutes each day starting in February.”
- Start small
Research, and a terrific best-selling book, tell us that “atomic” (small) changes are the best. Avoid statements like, “I’m going to lose 20 pounds this month,” and set more realistic expectations.
Focus on the actions you need to take on a consistent basis, which you have 100% control of, rather than the outcome. If you plan your actions properly, the outcome will take care of itself.
Consistency and persistence is what will get you there.
- Celebrate little victories
Did you hit your workout goal for the week? Dropped that first pound? Lost half an inch off your waist? Give yourself a high-five in the mirror.
These little victories are so important to acknowledge.
- Remember your ‘why’
Let’s admit it: There will be days when you don’t feel like exercising. Just remember WHY you started in the first place. To rule the golf course this spring? Walk your granddaughter down the aisle? Turn around a doctor’s warning? That’s the secret fuel to keep you going.
Do you know what else works? Having a progressive plan to follow and putting it in your schedule. Then, follow it.
- Workout with your partner or a friend
Working out with a pal makes it way more fun. A trainer can serve the same purpose. Talk to me about making these valuable connections.
- Tie habits together
Here’s another gem from “Atomic Habits” – link your new habit to one you already do. Let’s say you want to start each morning with 5 minutes of meditation. Do this RIGHT AFTER you brush your teeth or walk the dog. Makes it super-easy.
- Choose fun
If exercise feels like a drag, you’re less likely to do it. Choose something that’s fun for you, no explanation or apology to anyone. Weightlifting, yoga, jogging, dancing… Whatever gets you moving!
- Keep track of yourself
Take a photo and record measurements when you start. Record progress weekly, even if it seems minor. Here’s why: Small progress adds up, and when you feel like you’re not getting anywhere, there’s nothing more motivating than reviewing your record… and seeing how far you’ve come.
Talk to me about all these ideas and more. I want to see you succeed long past the strong “resolve” part of “resolutions” goes away. It’s consistency you’re after, and I’m here to help you achieve it.
Don’t Know Where to Start?
Helping people learn how to build healthy habits is what I do for a living.
I know how to break down big goals in to skills, practices, and small daily actions to get you where you want to go. All you have to do is execute the plan that we build together.
If you want to save time and money, request a complimentary consultation with me to see if we’d be a good fit to work together.
Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones, by James Clear
Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything, by B.J. Fogg
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