New [insert year, month, day, etc.], new me!
How many times have you read this in a social media caption or read in a group chat? Heck, you may have even seen it driving down the highway on a billboard. Making healthy habits stick may even be something you, yourself, have contemplated while standing in the coffee line. It’s an age-old question, indeed.
For women who continually pursue growth, women who strive to show up daily as the best version of themselves, women who are building businesses from the ground up, health must be our priority. When we make health a priority, we’re able to push a little bit harder, breathe a little bit deeper and mentally go a little bit farther.
This is what makes building good habits so important.
According to Psychology Today, “Habit formation is the process by which behaviors become automatic.” Now, I don’t know about you, but considering everything I balance, having healthy behaviors on auto-pilot sounds like a great thing. But, as with most great things, the road to get there is not easy. Let’s take a closer look at how to get these goal-driving habits on auto-pilot.
Start with Why
Yes, this is directly taken from Simon Sineck’s life-changing bestseller Start with Why. But I start with this for a good reason. When you know your Why, the bad days aren’t so bad, and the best days are sweeter.
Only YOU can define your WHY. No one has control over that. You are in charge.
Your Why could be your blissful vision of yacht-filled summers and tanning on the deck. Your Why could be a steadfast vision of walking your two-year-old son down the wedding aisle one day — and not just walking but skipping, running, and jumping too! Or your Why could be happily and healthily enjoying the fruits of your entrepreneurial labor for decades to come.
Whatever your Why is, start there. Hang tight. Press forward.
Assess, Assess, Assess
Once you know your Why, make a list of healthy habits you want to start. I wouldn’t recommend going overboard, but make a list of the top 5 healthy habits you’d like to tackle. Then select one. From there, you’ll want to assess your current lifestyle. What would it look like to begin incorporating this into your current lifestyle? What pieces of your schedule would need to be adjusted? What would success look like? How can you consistently reward yourself for implementing this new healthy behavior change?
Write your thoughts down. Capture as much as you can. Then make a plan.
Make a Plan
Making a plan doesn’t have to be a detailed 10-sheet spreadsheet. It can be as simple as writing down your current routine and then inserting your new behavior into it.
Let’s take running for 30-minutes every day for five days a week as the desired behavior changes. If this is the healthy habit we want to implement, then in the previous step, you should have asked yourself questions like:
- Are you a morning person or an evening person?
- Do you prefer running clubs or running solo?
- Are you training for a marathon or running just for fun?
Questions like these will help you narrow down when and where you should fit this into your current routine. Once you’ve answered these questions and decided on a time: test it out!
One thing I’ve learned that works best for me when starting a new habit is to start with clearing a section of my schedule, only for the first week. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to be practicing the new healthy habit [running, perhaps] at that time, but it does mean I have begun mentally training my brain to become more aware of what I should be doing during that time.
Then the second week, I’m already used to waking up at 5:30A, or I’m already used to closing the laptop at 8:00P to meet up with the running club. This way, I’m ready and willing to go!
Another huge key to success when forming new habits is rewarding yourself. This is an often overlooked part of the process. The trick is healthy rewards — habit-supporting rewards. You wouldn’t want to go puff five cigars as a reward for running five days a week, would you? But you could treat yourself to a nice massage or sleep in for an extra hour on the weekend. Rewarding yourself for a job well done is key and will help you maintain those good habits to keep you healthy.
Lastly, during this phase, stay mindful of what’s working and what’s not. Maybe 8:00P is not realistic. Instead, you’ve learned you can’t be part of the running group every day and need to run solo during lunch some days. Or maybe 5:00A is perfect for you mentally, but you keep showing up late to your team meetings at 7:00A and end up shuffling meetings to accommodate.
Whatever it is, staying mindful and taking mental notes during this time is imperative. Particularly because it leads us to the last stage of making healthy habits stick: adjust, and keep going.
Adjust & Keep Going
After 30 days or so, it’s a good idea to take stock and see how you’ve successfully incorporated the new habit into your routine. Have you been able to adjust successfully? Or perhaps there is still some adjusting that needs to be done? Either way, review and refine.
Use this time to get serious with yourself about what’s working and what’s not. This way, you will be more successful in maintaining the habit and having it stick for good. If you are looking to form healthy habits like eating less meat for better heart health or incorporating more veggies into your diet for better decision-making, check the Kitchen Dance Partii community on social!
I look forward to staying connected!
Hi, I’m Sagen, a Digital Health Creator. I create and curate resources for women looking to transition to veganism and live a healthy lifestyle. I’m from Austin, Texas and enjoy being active, eating good food and vibin’ with the music scene.