Building (and keeping) New Healthy Habits

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We recently joined a gym. It is a financial investment so we wanted to ensure that we used it regularly! It’s also a full family affair so spending time with the kids is an added benefit. Creating new habits around going to the gym is the hardest part to ensure it becomes routine. This is true with any habit you’re trying to create, like drinking more water, cutting out snacks or soda, drinking less, etc.

In this post I’m sharing some tools I’ve learned to help turn new healthy habits into a regular part of your everyday life.

Why Do You Want to Create a New Habit?

It starts with understanding why you want to create the habit in the first place. This is the time to get specific. For example, its not just, I want to get in shape or I want to lose weight. Instead, I want to be able to play tennis with my kids and not get out of breath. Or maybe its, I want to feel better when I wake up in the morning and tackle the day.

Generally a new habit is created because something that is going on in your world is causing a problem. It could be emotional, your health, your relationships, etc. Getting real why why you need to create a new habit will help it stick.

Determine The Time Your Habit Will Need

Some habits, like drinking more water, might not seem like they are going to impact your time, but you’ll still need to think about the time of day and when during the day you can drink more water.

Some other habits, like going to the gym, or eating a healthy lunch daily, might take a bit more effort. Don’t set yourself up for failure because your expectations aren’t in alignment with your availability.

For example, when I started going to the gym I didn’t say I would go 7 days a week. That is simply unrealistic! Instead, three days felt good and I decided to start there. I also knew that I could easily go right after I dropped my son off at school, since they are both next to each other (but more on that later!).

Layer in One Habit at a Time

As we approach the new year, you may be thinking about the resolutions you might want to acheive. A new year is a fresh start and it might be tempting to want to change ALL THE THINGS! Trying to change too many things at once is overwhelming. Instead prioritize the habit is the most important. Layer in new habits from there! 

It’s critical to build in success so you keep your motivation!

Attach Your New Habit to an Existing Part of Your Routine

You likely already have an established routine in your day, even if you don’t think about it. For example, try brushing your teeth with the other hand or wash your hair and body in a different order in the shower. You’ll quickly see how you forget what’s supposed to come next because its just routine.

The goal of these new habits is for them to become second nature. In the book, Atomic Habits, James Clear talks about attaching new habits to existing ones, otherwise known as habit stacking.

Like I mentioned above, I go to the gym after I drop my son off at school. That means I get myself ready to go to the gym before I take him and then go straight there. It makes it harder for me to push it off because I’m already leaving the house to go somewhere.

More examples of this are:

  • Journal for 15 minutes with your morning cup of coffee.
  • Drink an extra glass of water before you sit down to eat dinner.
  • Think about three things you’re grateful for when you get into bed before you lie down.

By attaching a new habit to something you already do it removes some of the friction.

Reward Yourself

It takes time to turn a habit into part of your routine. According to James Clear, it takes 66 days on average to be exact. That can feel overwhelming, so reward yourself along the way.

For my gym schedule, I’ve decided if I can be consistent for 30 days then I’ll reward myself with some new gym clothes. Instead of the leggings I’ve had since 2010! 😂

Rewarding yourself along the way for your consistency can go a long way to keeping at it. Here are some other ideas:

  • a new waterbottle.
  • that dress you’ve been wanting for date night.
  • a day at the spa.
  • girls night out!

Whatever it is, make it personal to you and something YOU really want.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, your habits should have a reason why they exist. By attaching them to existing habits you have a stronger likelihood of success. Go out there and build those healthy habits! We’re cheering you on.