7 Easy Ways to Build Healthy Habits
As you decide to embark on healthy habits for the new year, you will want to know how to stick to healthy habits and see progress over time. You have probably tried in the past to begin a new diet or exercise consistently, but such a change to your lifestyle can be challenging.
Whether you want to eat healthier, quit bad habits or indulge in skin and hair care, the key to success is knowing how to build healthy habits. Repetition forms habits, but according to a study in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it often takes an average of 66 days to form a habit — but it can even take over 250 days. You cannot change your entire life overnight, but you can learn easy ways to build healthy habits and stick with them.
1. Start Small
When you research how to build healthy habits, you will find so many suggestions that you may want to integrate into your life right away, but take it slow. If you add too many changes to your lifestyle, it will be challenging to track your progress or even stick to the healthy reset. Instead, you will feel overwhelmed by all the changes you made, if you can even decide where to begin.
For example, instead of eating a meal that aligns with a diet every night of the week, start slow with healthy meals a few nights. If you want to wake up early in the morning to exercise, start by getting up a half-hour early, then an hour and so on until you reach your final goal. You will eventually adjust to the change and begin making healthy choices out of habit over time. Remember that sticking to healthy habits takes time, and you want to give yourself a better chance for success by starting slow.
2. Seek Help From a Medical Professional
When making a lifestyle change, especially as it pertains to diet and exercise, you should work with your doctor. They can recommend foods and activities that, from a medical perspective, can help improve your health, and they may provide reliable resources to use on your healthy reset journey.
It is also essential to get medical help for your healthy reset if you have any medical conditions that may affect what you can and cannot alter about your lifestyle. If you are on a particular medication, for example, it may not be possible to take certain supplements or begin a particular diet. You will also want to notify a medical professional about your healthy habits because it will help:
- Keep you accountable.
- Measure and track your progress.
- Assess what changes are beneficial.
- Ensure you build safe healthy habits.
Some healthy habits may not require a medical opinion, but if you want to make more dramatic lifestyle changes eventually, you should do so under the advice of a professional. You will feel more confident going forward with your lifestyle changes if they have been approved by a medical professional and you have someone you can check in with about your progress.
3. Plan and Track Your Progress
You will not know if you are sticking to healthy habits if you do not plan how you will achieve your goals and track your progress. You can use tracker apps, bullet journaling or any method that suits your lifestyle to mark your progress, using whichever method to:
- Journal your goals to establish the changes you want to make.
- Write down ideas for healthy meals or other beneficial behaviors you would like to try.
- Use specific and achievable steps to meet your goals.
- Journal your progress to keep track of your healthy habits.
With specific goals written down, you can be accountable for your changes and know how to stay on track. It will also be easier to reward yourself if you know you have put in the work, and you can track any positive changes you see in your life thanks to your new behaviors.
4. Work With Someone Else
Building healthy habits with a friend, partner or family member can make the process of engaging in better habits easier and more enjoyable. You can agree to support and motivate each other through the journey of developing healthy habits or breaking bad ones.
Go to the gym with your friends, take yoga classes together or research healthy recipes and cook with each other. Getting into these healthy habits will be more rewarding if you work toward them with someone else, and you both get the benefit of a healthy reset. You may also be less likely to skip an opportunity for your good habits if you plan to workout with or cook for a friend, family member or partner.
5. Get Inspired and Experiment
Just as working with someone else can inspire you to stay on track, you can also find inspiration in other ways. To meet others pursuing healthy habits for the new year or to inspire yourself, you might try:
- Joining an exercise class.
- Starting an activity you have never tried before.
- Taking a healthy cooking class.
- Researching delicious and healthy recipes.
Find what inspires you to maintain your beneficial behaviors, whether that is rewarding yourself with a smoothie after exercising or giving yourself a cheat day now and then after enjoying healthy meals every night.
Experimenting and being creative with your healthy reset can also inspire you to stick with it. Try new recipes, snacks, activities, products and more that will help you wake up excited to take on your new habits.
If you find that experimenting does not inspire you or that it is intimidating, you can slightly alter your routine or what you already know. For instance, a healthy reset can be more simple if you create meals you enjoy and are familiar with, but you make a few substitutions to create a meal that is better for you.
6. Stock Your Kitchen With Healthy Options
If your healthy habit goal is to go on a diet or simply integrate foods that are better for you into your routine, fill your refrigerator and pantry with healthy ingredients and foods to encourage yourself to use them. Slowly phase out unhealthy foods that you want to stop eating and introduce alternatives that are better for you.
With your kitchen stocked with beneficial and good for you foods, you will find it is easier to create and enjoy healthy meals and snacks. Seeing the healthy ingredients will be your cue to act on your better behaviors instead of falling back on your old habits.
7. Be Patient With Yourself
You may be more likely to stick to healthy habits if you forgive yourself for missing out on a day and understand that change will not come to you overnight. A cheat day here or there will not set you off course if you forgive yourself and get back on track when you can. This is particularly true when life gets stressful or busy, whether that be due to work, traveling or your personal life.
Missing one chance to perform a habit does not keep the habit from forming, meaning there is hope even if you have a cheat day. Lifestyle changes have the potential to be overwhelming, especially if you do not get the results you want to see right away, so forgiving yourself and being patient will save you from feeling defeated.
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Last Updated on March 26, 2020