Tell me if this sounds like you …
You feel like it’s time to make some changes. Your health isn’t as good as it could be, you want to eat healthier and you’re really interested in all these natural recipes you’re seeing on Pinterest. So you:
- Get inspired
- Try to change all the things overnight
- Fail miserably
- Decide it’s too hard to make healthier habits and continue on with the way things were
If that doesn’t sound like you, I know who it does sound like – me. At least that’s how it used to go when I decided I wanted to a make a new healthy habit.
In fact, I’ve failed at so many healthy habit endeavors it’s a wonder I made any changes at all.
Thankfully, I learn from failure (even if it takes me a dozen times) and I eventually realized that the way I had been going about making the changes was all wrong. I was actually setting myself up to fail from the beginning. Strong work, Nelson.
Once I realized that, I started to take a different approach, which I’ll tell you in just a sec.
But first, this caveat
While the steps I’m about to share work, I have to say one thing. If you’re making this change halfheartedly – say you saw that someone else was doing it so you figured you should be, too. Or if your WHY isn’t big enough – if you don’t feel that firey passion in your chest to make it happen, dammit. Then you will probably have a hard time maintaining motivation to keep going when things get hard.
This might not be the case, but I’ve found that unless there’s something bigger to shoot for than wanting to go down a pantsize because all women have that goal, then I quickly give up and slide back into old patterns.
Make sure your WHY, the reason you’re attempting these changes in the first place, is big enough to keep you moving forward.
It also doesn’t hurt to adopt the motto, “I do hard things and they’re worth it.”
Ok, putting away my soap box now so we can back to those steps … Here they are.
4 simple steps for making healthy habits
1. Focus on one change at a time.
Yes, just one. When I decided I wanted to get in better shape late last year (for a number of highly motivating reasons), I made that my one goal – to workout three days a week. That was it.
2. Gather resources.
Luck favors the prepared, right? At least that’s what I’ve experienced. Before you start, do your research. I started looking into different body types, the best exercises for my body type and wrote down how my body has responded to different exercise in the past.
3. Implement – but just one thing.
Now it’s time to start doing the thing. After all my research, I knew that my body would respond best to pretty vigorous exercise. My husband had also been doing CrossFit for a year and I really wanted to go, but was terrified. So I signed up for On-Ramp sessions and started going (putting your money where your mouth is also helps).
4. Assess and adjust as necessary.
When I’m making a new habit, I like to assess it after a month or so. It’s usually nothing formal – I’ll just think about it while doing the dishes or going on a walk. With CrossFit, I fell in love immediately. Instead of three days a week, I was going five. And I was seeing some great changes. So I adjusted my goal to five days a week. Next habit: getting enough protein.
I know that sounds really simple, but that’s the point. The change itself is challenging enough, why make the process any harder?
Instead, focusing on just one simple thing at a time takes out the overwhelm of feeling like you have to do it all. That’s probably the case in too many areas of your life, but not here. Just one thing.
And the beauty of that is that after you master the one thing, you can move on to the next, then the next. Momentum builds and before you know it, you’ve created all those healthy habits you wanted in the first place.
One step at a time. You’ve got this.