When it comes to improving health and wellness, most people think they need to make drastic changes and take big steps to improve their health habits. To get healthier, they turn to extreme diets, crash exercise programs, or expensive products. But this approach often results in short-term success that fades quickly. Unfortunately, these approaches often are also unhealthy for you and not easy to maintain.
The truth is that small steps are far more effective in achieving lasting positive results. Focusing on building reliable systems and processes, rather than trying to make a single big change, or achieve a specific outcome is the key to developing healthier habits that stick. Making that 1% change daily can add up and compound over time to get you where you need to be.
Here are some strategies that you can use to improve your health habits:
- Break large goals down into smaller steps. Rather than trying to lose twenty pounds all at once, strive for small, measurable goals such as losing a pound or two each week. If you are just starting to exercise, take it slowly and build each week. Be specific about what you need to accomplish. Remember, health is a journey and not a sprint!
- Replace bad habits with new ones. Rather than trying to simply quit unhealthy behaviors like smoking or drinking too much, replace them with healthy activities such as walking, yoga, or cooking. Pick the new habit you would like to develop based on which one best resonates with you.
- Track your progress. Keeping track of your goals and successes helps keep you motivated and focused on your objectives. Whether it’s writing down what you eat each day or tracking the number of glasses of water you drink, take note of the small achievements each day so that you can celebrate them when they add up!
- Avoid creating “all-or-nothing” scenarios. When you’re trying to change a habit, recognize that it’s okay if you don’t execute it perfectly every day. Focus on the progress that you are making by gradually introducing new healthy habits into your life and cut yourself some slack if they don’t always go as planned.
- Have a plan for difficult situations. Before going into a situation where your bad health habits may be triggered, think about what strategies you can use to help get through them. Identifying cues of when these triggers may occur will help you stay prepared and on track with your goals. Make it hard for those bad health habits to surface by removing the cues and triggers. So whether it’s removing the junk food, itself, or specific activity that you may associate with junk food such as watching a specific show.
- Don’t forget to reward yourself. Celebrate the small victories! Whether it’s buying yourself a new piece of workout gear or treating yourself to a healthy smoothie after a great workout, make sure to reward yourself for the hard work that you’re putting in. But be careful…you don’t want to reward yourself with the habit you are trying to free yourself from.
Patience, forgiveness, and persistence are key. Gradually introduce healthier habits into your life and, eventually, they will become second nature. This doesn’t mean that you won’t experience any bumps in the road, but stick with it and don’t give up on yourself! With time, these good habits will supersede the bad ones and begin to take their place.
Following these strategies will help you establish systems and processes that will support your goals and make it much easier for long-term success. With patience and perseverance, you can find success by taking those small steps to improve your health habits and achieve giant leaps in your health.
Learn more about how to make successful changes to your health habits in this video.
I am a Master’s prepared RN, National Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Board-Certified Functional Wellness Coach, and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner. I help people fix their chronic inflammation & pain with in-home lab testing, client assessments, personalized natural healing protocols, and online coaching to help them move from pain to peace so that they feel better, move better, and live better.