6 October 2020

How to Make Healthy Habits Stick

Human beings are creatures of habits, which is why we tend to stick with lifestyles that we've grown accustomed to. Unfortunately, this science applies to both healthy and harmful habits. 

Even worse, it's the bad habits that tend to come back and haunt us. Take, for instance, realizing too late -- after we've already added on too much weight or developed unhealthy lifestyle diseases -- that we need to change our habits. What's more, we often try to change only for us to slide back to our poor old habits.

If only healthy habits could stick as easily, right? Well, they should. We are going to learn how to create habits that stick for a healthy lifestyle.

Before that, let's first find out why we cannot create healthy habits that stick, shall we?

  • Seeking instant gratification. Therefore, we don't appreciate the value of patience and trusting processes, such as how to create habits that stick.
  • Over-reliance on motivation and willpower, which pushes us too hard too fast. Motivation wanes with time, and with it, our willpower to change those habits.
  • Committing to changing all poor habits at a go which can be both overwhelming and frustrating.
  • Slipping back easily whenever life's other schedules get in the process.

Here are 5 ways to make habits stick;

1. Staying focused is the key to create habits that stick

When looking to build healthy habits that stick, make sure you don't get distracted with the short term achievements. 

Remember, 7-week challenges or 21-day workout accomplishments should only serve to jumpstart your overall goal of sustainable exercising and keep-fit routines. These crazes can create a feel-good effect in a week or a month, but remember, we're targeting long-term habits that you'll be committed to for a long period to come.

2. Appreciate small victories

We tend to stick to habits that make us feel good and not to those that seem like a waste of effort. In this regard, developing healthy habits requires you to appreciate every small victory that you achieve towards your overall goal. 

If you set out to cut weight and reduce sugar intake, appreciate even a single pound loss in a week. Besides, if you're continually adding weight and set out to change this trend, be appreciative when you note a zero change in your weight in a week. This means you've put a stop to the negative trend.

3. Create a fulfilling environment

Choice architecture plays a crucial role in creating healthy habits that stick. It is the process of getting rid of bad options and making better alternatives readily available to us at the time of decision-making.

For instance, if you're used to high-calorie chocolate bars every evening, you can rid your store of the chocolate bars and replace them with a healthier option

By creating such an environment, you'll slowly replace all the poor habits and find it easy to stick to the healthier ones without much struggle. 

4. Find the fun in your new habit

We tend to stick with poor habits because we find it more comfortable. Well, replacing an easier option is only possible if the alternative will be fun doing. If you can't find the fun in the healthy habit, chances are you'll barely stick to it. 

The joy in a healthy lifestyle will keep you anxious and thrilled to look forward to every day. It is this thrill that will keep you hooked to that particular habit forever.

5. Account your progress and avoid relying on motivation

When starting new healthy habits, we frequently check our progress to measure the results of our efforts. The trick is to ensure that you are accountable to yourself. Don't let someone else provide the yardstick to your progress; people can kill your psych!

Similarly, find out why you need to change to a healthy habit and avoid motivation because it wanes. And when it does, so will your push to stick to the routine.

We are all creatures of habit. These tips will help you learn how to make habits stick.

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