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Creating Healthy Habits: Tips For Lasting Change

As a health coach, I often work with clients who are eager to improve their health and well-being but struggle to make lasting changes. My number one tool for lasting change is creating healthy habits....that will stick. Habits are the behaviors we do automatically, often without much thought.

The author of Atomic Habits, James Clear often gets asked ‘how long does it take to make a habit?', and his answer is ‘a lifetime, because if you stop doing it, it’s no longer a habit.’

Here are some strategies I use to help create and maintain healthy habits:

  1. Start Small: When creating a new habit, start with something small and manageable. Too often we convince ourselves that massive success requires massive action. We put pressure on ourselves to make some earth-shattering improvement, and get discouraged, down and disheartened when we don’t see that change reflected back at us straight away. For example, if you want to start exercising, just begin with just a 10-minute walk each day. Once this becomes a habit, you can gradually increase the duration or intensity of your workouts.

  2. Be Consistent: Consistency is key when forming new habits. Try to perform your new habit at the same time and in the same context each day. Create a routine and find a simple way to incorporate it into your everyday life, so it just becomes something you do... the habit becomes automatic, easy.

  3. Use Visual Reminders: Place visual reminders of your new habit in prominent places where you will see them regularly. This could be a sticky note on your bathroom mirror or a reminder on your phone.

  4. Track Your Progress: Keep track of your progress to stay motivated and see how far you've come. This could be done through a habit-tracking app, a journal, or simply checking off each day that you successfully complete your new habit.

  5. Reward Yourself: Reward yourself for sticking to your new habit, celebrate the wins, pat yourself on the back, tell yourself how well you're doing. Even plan a reward for yourself...if you've successfully completed your daily walk for a week, treat yourself to a relaxing bath or a new book.

  6. Be Patient and Persistent: Creating new habits takes time. Be patient with yourself and don't get discouraged when you have setbacks. Keep focused on your goals and continue to make small, positive changes each day.

By following these simple steps, you can create healthy habits that lead to lasting changes in your self, your body and your health for the long term. Remember, every positive action, every positive decision is a step towards the person you want to become.

This blog is written by Caitlin Cotter, a Qualified HCANZA Accredited Health Coach, GWMF Qualified Weight Management Practitioner & Positive Intelligence Coach Bachelor of Human Movement & Health.

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