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4 Ways to Create Habits that Last

I was thinking this week about how powerful habits are when it comes to health. Of course we all have habits, both healthy and unhealthy, that are already part of our routine. But wouldn’t it be great to be able to harness the power of habits in order to make health and personal wellness feel (imagine this) easy?

Habits are hard to make, that’s for sure! But, what’s really interesting is that they’re equally hard to break for good once they’re established. What does this mean for us? It means that, if we can get through the hard part of creating a pattern, we’re going to be able to keep those habits without too much effort on our part.

Start Early in the Day
Your willpower tends to be highest at the beginning of the day, so harness that energy and use it to your advantage. A great example is crockpot cooking: your desire to be healthy can motivate you to toss ingredients into a crockpot in the morning, so you’re not dealing with cooking when you’re tired after a long day at work.

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Make Habits Convenient

If something is difficult or complicated to do, it’s even less enjoyable when you’re doing it over and over. Make sure that whatever habits you’re trying to establish are:

  • simple
  • relatively easy and, if there’s any complexity (like needing a packed gym bag)
  • scheduled into your routine so it’s easy to get it done.

Have Fun!
If you’re doing something you hate, you’re not going to magically fall in love with it by doing it over and over. Some people say you should “change what you think is fun”, but I’m not sure that’s realistic. Instead, find things that you actually enjoy doing and establish these as your habits!

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Use Action Triggers
Triggers are things that automatically lead to something else happening. A trigger you might have now would be something like: finish eating dinner, rinse plate and put in dishwasher. So the rinsing of the plate was triggered by the finishing of a meal. Similarly, see how you can tie new habits to other actions. For example: include a 10 minute stroll at the end of lunchtime. After a while, every time you eat lunch you’ll think to yourself: “I should take a quick walk now!”

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Using these types of techniques to establish habits can be the difference between success and failure. As you look to establish even more healthy habits, check out my Facebook group, Sisterhood of Healthy Living, where I share more healthy food and activity habits for weight loss and lifelong maintenance. 

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