6 Steps to Starting (or Restarting) Healthy Habits
If you’re having trouble kicking off your New Year’s Resolutions, you’re not alone. Sometimes, getting started is the hardest part. With that in mind, we’re here to help with some tips for starting (or restarting) healthy habits for 2017.
Step One: Realistic, Definitive Goals
It’s hard to focus on healthy habits if you don’t have a goal – one that’s measurable and realistic. For example, if your goal is to “be healthier” or “lose weight” you’ll have a hard time staying motivated, even if you start to see results. In the same vein, setting unrealistic goals will just set you up for disappointment.
By keeping your goals a) realistic and b) measurable you can use your results to motivate you further towards your final goal. For example, if you want to eat more plant-based meals, perhaps your goal is to eat at least one plant-based meal per day for the next month. Or challenge yourself to a 22-Day vegan challenge to enjoy the full benefits of a plant-based diet for 22 days.
Step Two: Cut Bad Habits
Whether part of your ultimate goal or not, cutting bad habits is a good way to help you move towards a healthier lifestyle, which in turn will help you stay on track. Whether smoking, drinking, unhealthy eating or less screen time, when you pare back or eliminate these habits it will accelerate your results. Give yourself some time to identify these bad habits that are keeping you from starting your healthy habits.
Step Three: Prioritize
To achieve your resolutions, you need to put them in the forefront. This might mean moving some other priorities down the list, getting up a bit earlier, or reducing the time you spend on other, less important things. However, you can also help yourself make time by finding ways to save time – such as cooking large batches of healthy food, working out while the kids are at their activities, splitting up tasks to fit into your busy schedule, etc. Remember, this is about your health and well-being!
Some people find making a schedule helps – as long as you stick to it!
Step Four: Get More Sleep
8 in 10 Americans aren’t getting enough quality sleep. It affects more than just your energy levels – it can also cause weight gain, depression, and even affect your relationships. Improving your sleep (and getting more of it) will have a myriad of positive benefits on how you feel. Take a look at your sleeping habits to see if they need to be adjusted in order to help you instill other new healthy habits.
Step Five: Drink Water!
Whether this is part of a New Year’s Resolution or not, it’s one quick way to help you move towards a healthy lifestyle. Besides keeping you hydrated, drinking more water staves off hunger, improves metabolism and digestion, and when replacing high-calorie drinks can help you lose and maintain weight. Again, it’s difficult to start other new healthy habits when low water consumption is dragging you down.
Step Six: Keep Moving
It’s not just the big things that make a difference; the small things do too. It could be as easy as parking a few blocks from work, taking the stairs, doings squats during TV commercials, anything that increases how much you move. These little additions of movement help keep a positive outlook during the day and energy levels up.
Step Seven: Forgive Yourself
Too many resolutions fail because a small bump in the road turns into a massive sinkhole. If you happen to have a hiccup, forgive yourself and move on. Yes, it may take you a bit longer to reach your goal, but you will reach it. Tomorrow is a new day!
Stay on track, stay positive, and you can be sure that your healthy new habits will become a reality!