How to Keep the Healthy Habits You Start in January Going All Year Long
Each year we start out in January with the best of intentions to create healthy habits. We make resolutions to be a better version of ourselves with goals such as start going to the gym, swearing off alcohol, eating better…basically all kinds of new healthy habits.
Then old habits start to creep in. We may even completely give up the new habits we wanted to institute by the end of January.
Changing behaviors that may have been ingrained for many years is difficult. That's why it's important to set yourself up for success by making smaller changes over time.
Our article about ultimate wellness and setting goals may help you identify some of the new healthy habits you'd like to create.
This post is sponsored by adidas, all opinions are my own.
Five Tips to Maintain Healthy Habits
When most people want to create a healthy habit, they have a goal in mind such as to feel better or lose weight.
One of the keys to successfully maintaining healthy habits past a few weeks is to choose goals that are specific, easily measurable and set up in a way that allows you to build new habits over time.
For example, you wouldn't just want to say, ” I want to lose weight.” A specific and measurable goal should have a time limit and specify a quantity. “I want to lose five pounds by March 1, 2020,” would be a goal that is direct and easily measured.
As far as the building habits portion of this tip, your plan to achieve this goal may be changing eating habits not overnight but rather in manageable steps.
For example, rather than jumping right into the keto diet by going straight to 25 carbs a day, you might start this new healthy habit that contributes to your goal of weight loss by cutting out just bread and sugary drinks.
Tip Two to Maintain Healthy Habits
In addition to tip one of choosing a measurable and specific goal, it's important to keep your focus on the habit itself, not the result.
In the beginning, the habit itself is what needs to be done to move you towards your goal. Like the example above of weight loss, keeping your focus on just cutting bread and sugary drinks (your new habit) is what will keep you “showing up” for your new habit day after day.
After the new habit has been created, you can work more directly on getting to your goal, in this case losing weight. The newly solidified habit you created will support you in reaching your goal.
Tip Three to Maintain Healthy Habits
Multiple peer-reviewed studies show that exercise is as effective as pharmacological interventions in treating and preventing depression.1
Regular exercise also improves heart health, lowers your risk for cardiac events and can be an effective tool to support weight loss.
In my experience, creating other healthy habits is easier when you come from a base of daily movement.
However, many people find it difficult to maintain the exercise habit.
The best way you can have consistent exercise in your life is to choose a form of movement that you love. You're much more likely to stick to exercising on a regular basis if you can find movement that gives you joy. Or at least movement that you don't hate!
It's also helpful to have the right equipment to keep you motivated and feeling good.
For example, the form of movement that gives me the most joy is simply walking in nature. I find that if I have comfortable and stylish walking shoes like these Adidas Edgebounce 1.5, I have a much easier time getting out the door.
It's also important to be comfortable while you workout. Wearing clothes and gear that are appropriate for the weather are key. Being too cold or too hot is a surefire way to convince yourself you don't need to move any given day! Having the right gear for the right activity will keep you comfortable and more likely to exercise.
With temperatures in the thirties and forties in the midwest right now, tights have been my workout gear of choice.
Getting good sleep is absolutely critical to maintaining healthy habits. When you don't sleep well, it's very difficult to make good decisions.
Multiple studies have found you eat more when you don't sleep well, which could interfere with some of your health goals.2
In addition, key hormones such as ghrelin, leptin, cortisol and adrenaline get out of whack with improper sleep.
Having an imbalance in these hormones can affect decision making and may put you at odds with creating healthy habits.
If you're not getting good sleep, there are plenty of things you can try. Check out our six best tips for sleep to get better rest.
Tip Five to Maintain Healthy Habits
If you take just one thing away from this article, take this tip. Just. Get. Started! Don't wait until tomorrow, next week, your birthday or next year to start new, healthy habits.
Change begins right now, in this minute and every other one that follows. Each moment is your opportunity to start creating new habits.