If there’s one trend I’ve noticed among women who are trying to create healthy habits, it’s that they think that being healthy is equivalent to eating a perfectly clean diet, going to the gym every day, meditating for an hour each day, and more. If and when they slip up (because, life), they let it throw them off track. Healthy habits are a result of consistency, not perfection. Here are five ways to cultivate healthy habits without expecting perfection:
Start with the smallsies and the basics
Making changes can be intimidating and jarring if you try to do too much at once so I encourage everyone I work with to make small changes. You don’t have to go all out, all at once. Take a few right actions and build on those. If you don’t know where to start, start with what you can do. Maybe it’s drinking water or a green juice daily. Or taking a morning walk. Do what you can and once you’ve made those few small actions healthy habits, add on from there. This is how small changes lead to big results.
Connect with your “why”
Find the purpose that connects you to your goals: it helps shape your long-term vision. If it’s just to look good in a bikini or see a certain number on the scale, you’ll only get so far before you throw in the towel. What is your bigger reason? Yours might be for long-term disease prevention or to have more confidence so you can grow your career, or maybe it’s to set a good example for your family. It can be anything, as long as you feel deeply connected to it.
Support is king
Statistics show that when you have accountability, you’re more likely to reach your goals. If you know that you’re more likely to stick to a fitness plan if you have a workout buddy, then find a friend who has similar goals and create an alliance. Or if you’re trying to make healthy habits stick, join a group of people with similar goals who can help you do so. If healthy weight loss is your goal, maybe you can work with a coach who can give you the support and accountability you need to get there. Choose someone who will challenge you and stretch you outside of your comfort zone.
Stick to the 30-day rule
Scientific research shows that it takes anywhere from 18 to 254 days to create a habit. My experience shows that the best way to create a habit is to practice the habit you’d like to cultivate—maybe it’s morning exercise, meditation, journaling, drinking warm lemon water every morning—it could be anything. The key is to keep practicing it consistently and set out to do it for 30 days straight. There will be times during those 30 days when you won’t want to do it. Force yourself to do it anyway. If you miss a day, just get back on track the next day. Keep practicing until the feeling and experience you create by doing it is one you can’t imagine living without.
Have a weekly plan
Just like you schedule important meetings in your calendar, it can also work wonders to schedule your meals and workouts. Make it a habit to take a look ahead at your week and plan around your schedule—decide in advance which days you’ll go to the gym, which nights you’ll cook at home, what you’ll eat, what ingredients you need, and when you’ll buy your groceries. Then block time for it all and schedule it in just like a meeting or a doctor’s appointment. If it’s in your calendar, you’re more likely to be committed to it and stick to the plan.
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