10 steps to make healthy habits stick

It’s soooo frustrating!

Time and time again we set ourselves to form a new, healthy habit.

A healthy diet. Regular exercise. Meditation.

Yet every time we try, we fail. And worse, our confidence, self-esteem and willingness to try again takes another hit.

Why does it seem so hard to form a new, healthy habit?

Often it’s because we aim too high. We expect ourselves to be perfect and when we’re not, well…you know the rest.

But it’s those difficulties, those hits, which lay the foundations for success.  

To help you on your healthy habit journey, here are ten crucial steps you’ll need to take to make your healthy habit stick

1. Know your why

Know your aspiration and have a vision of what it looks like when achieved.

Make a statement to clarify your why.

“I want to feel calmer so I can get through the day in peace.”

“I want to feel more positive so I can connect with my children.”

Whatever you want, understand why you want it.

2. Know you can

If you don’t believe you can do it, what’s the point of trying? When you’ve found a healthy habit to match your why, know you can achieve it.

Look for inspiration from those around you. It’s surprising how catching healthy habits can be.

3. How bad do you want it?

Be prepared to invest time and energy. Always go back to your why.

4. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat

It’s time to perform your soon-to-be habit daily. After just five days, 80 percent of people start building the habit. The longer you do it daily, the stickier your habit becomes.

5. Take small steps

Achieve early and build slowly. Small steps that are easy to achieve give you a refreshing blast of confidence and accomplishment (rather than the all-too-familiar pang of failure).

6. Use cues and triggers

Use reminders to practice the habit. Try a visual cue to help initiate the habit like sticking a post-it note on the milk carton. Or link the behaviour to an existing habit like brushing your teeth to help make the habit effortless.

7. It’s about time

It takes at least two months to truly embed a healthy habit so stick with it. Remember, habits form faster when we do them more often.

8. Stay accountable

Use measures and monitoring techniques. You might share your goal with a friend who wants to form the same habit. Recording your goals in a journal is a fantastic healthy habit in itself. Make yourself accountable.

9. Find a coach or mentor

Seek support from trusted sources to help you through the tough times. No matter what your goal, you’re likely to find a professional coach who can help you.

10. Reward yourself

Use delayed gratification to celebrate your success and feel good about your progress.

“Once I reach five days without a cigarette, I’m going to my favourite restaurant.”

“After a month of yoga, I’ll book in for a massage.”

Don’t give up on your healthy habit goal. Follow the steps and you’re another step closer to success.

It takes practice and commitment, but you can do it.

Know you can.

Nick Farr is a resilience coach, Mt. Everest summiteer and co-founder of Resilience Builders.

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