Habits, whether healthy or unhealthy, are what most of our days are formed around. They create patterns. Making coffee in the morning, brushing your teeth, making breakfast, going to work, exercising, going to sleep, etc. Over time, we all develop habits from daily events in our lives that soon become our routine.
However, it’s a lot easier to develop unhealthy habits than to stick to healthy ones.
We’ve all been there.
But why is it so hard to stick to healthy habits?
The problem is that we crave instant satisfaction. Sometimes, especially when we feel tired or are simply not in the mood, we would rather default to our old habits that bring instant relief or satisfaction rather than going through the motions of building a healthy habit. For example, we might know what healthy foods to eat in order to stay healthy, but after a long day at work, you feel tired and start craving unhealthy foods and cave in.
Another reason why it’s harder to build healthy habits is because we depend on motivation. We become motivated to build a healthy lifestyle and commit 100% to a program one day, and then fall back into old habits the next day because we lost that motivation. The common thread here is that we’re trying to create healthier habits the wrong way. Healthy habits are built over long periods of time, in small steps, and with self-discipline rather than motivation.
Here are some tips to help you form long-lasting healthy habits!
Set small goals
Trying to create huge habits all at once can often leave you overwhelmed. Committing to 40 pushups a day and a 5-mile run and eating 100% clean 7-days a week sounds like great goals, but in reality, isn’t sustainable and often comes from a lot of motivation. Start with small, attainable goals that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine. For example, if you want to reach a goal of running 5 miles a day, don’t attempt to run 5 miles on the first day. Start by walking for 20-30 minutes every morning. Next week, try running for half a mile, and then 1 mile, 2 miles, etc. It’s much easier to set small goals every day than to attempt a big one right away. In his book Tiny Habits, Dr. B.J. Fogg says this, “The easier a behavior is to do, the more likely the behavior will become habit.”
Create a new habit in an existing routine
Healthy habits take weeks, even months to develop into our routines. One of the easiest ways to start building healthy habits is to build them into your already existing routines. While you’re brewing your morning coffee, take a minute to drink a glass of water and take your vitamins. Go on a short walk during your afternoon lunch. While you’re getting ready for bed, do yoga poses or a meditation to help prepare you for sleep. Incorporating small changes into your routine can help healthy habits become automatic and over time will begin to replace old, unhealthy habits when you stick to them every day.
Replace motivation with self-discipline
As we said before, motivation comes and goes quickly and rarely sticks with you, especially when you are exhausted or don’t feel like sticking to your healthy habits. Motivation relies on your emotions, whereas self-discipline relies on consistency. Building your self-discipline, especially in the moments when you lack motivation is the key to building healthy habits in your life.
Show yourself grace
Building healthy habits is a marathon, not a sprint. Our journey to create healthy habits isn’t going to be perfect, and that’s okay. Sometimes we slip back into old habits and have to reset and start again. And that’s just life! So, don’t be too hard on yourself when that happens. The key is picking yourself back up starting again tomorrow.
You’re not alone in your journey of building healthy habits! We have a team of instructors and professionals who are dedicated to helping you when it comes to building a healthier lifestyle! Sign up for a free Flowell account at flowell.com and gain access to hundreds of online classes that are built for your health and fitness needs!
Start flowing into lasting, healthier habits today!