Lifestyle

5 Ways To Make Your Healthy Habits Stick

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Written by Michele Lian

June is drawing close, this is about the time New Year’s resolutions are laid to rest.

Buried under piles and piles of “˜to-dos’, the busy-ness of life and a waning belief in ourselves””that we can really “˜do it’ (clean eating and toned bodies are, after all, things that only happen to other people).

milkBut”¦you know that something’s got to change. You can tell, because:   You’re growing more and more uncomfortable in your own body as the months go by””the lingering lethargy, your growing waistline and uneasy dissatisfaction with how your clothes fit are crawling under your skin. You’re enjoying your food a little too much. In fact, you enjoy it so much that you turn to it whenever you’re feeling stressed or anxious. You’re also starting to feel anxious around food because it’s all you seem to think about 24/7.

So how do you get back on horse without falling off again just weeks or months later?

Here are five things that help get me back on my feet and moving forward when my journey towards my goals come to a halt:

1. I recognize that relying only on motivation is futile

I used to think that motivation was this bright, fiery flame of desire to do what’s good for me that would always be with me no matter what I did because well, if it’s important enough, you should want to do it all the time…right?

Not really. Now with more experience under my belt, I’ve come to realize that this desire tends to come and go over time. There will be highs where I feel like I’m on a   roll, but there will also be slumps where I’ll feel like jumping off the horse because it feels like too much work to stay on it.

What really matters is that I make the decision to get back on the horse after I’ve jumped off it.

2. I re-connect with my big ‘why’

When I find myself reaching for the late-night pizza a little too often, or feel like I’m losing my will to keep up with my workouts, what gets me going again is to re-connect with my purpose, my big ‘why’.

Why did I start out on this journey in the first place?

Digging deep and re-focusing my attention on why I’m doing what I set out to do (hint: It’s rarely just about weight loss or other surface goals) get my feet moving even though they feel like lead, and keep me going even when I don’t feel like it, because it’s not just something I have to do””it’s who I want to BE.

3. I focus on the ‘doing’

This one’s difficult to do, especially when your heart’s not in it, but I find that once I get my body going, my heart follows, I always end up feeling glad that I did.

The recurring big lesson that I’ve learned from following through with this step over and over again? It’s that the worst thing you can do when you’re feeling unmotivated is to spend your time over-thinking things. It paralyzes you and keeps you stuck in a place of inaction.

The best thing you can do in instances like this is to just get up and start taking action. Chances are high that just the simple act of ‘doing’ will help you re-gain the motivation and momentum you’re looking for.

4. I give myself permission to take a break

When I feel like putting one foot in front of the other feels almost impossible, I give myself permission to take a step back and take a break from certain things, like my intense workouts or putting pressure on myself to eat clean all the time.

Giving up on myself is never an option, but taking time out when I need it, is.

These ‘mental health’ breaks can range from a few days to a week or a couple of months, and to me, they’re crucial for dealing with and recuperating from life’s ups and downs, as well as giving my body and mind the space it needs to re-group, recover and re-gain the strength I need to feel ‘OK’ again.

5. I have an “˜emergency’ self-care ritual at the ready

When my motivation is dipping dangerously low, I sometimes forget about trying to get it back, I forget about the “˜shoulds’ and instead, turn to a gentler, more holistic and loving way of accomplishing my mission: A self-care ritual that I know will help me feel better and gradually help me get back 100%.

After all, the reason we’re driven to do the “˜right’ things are rarely just about calories, the exercises or chalking up 10,000 steps a day””it’s usually a part of a bigger puzzle that we’re trying to piece together.

My ritual is a three-point checklist that I tick off throughout the day (somewhat like a self-care instruction manual) so that I don’t have to think about it. And, it simplifies the get-well process with just these non-negotiables:

  • Nourish: I’m not a fan of complicated recipes and so I eat foods that are simple to prepare and help me feel good in my body, as well as about my body. If a food triggers addictive tendencies (for example, sugary pastries and white bread) in me, I keep it out of my home.
  • Move: I don’t exercise with the intention of becoming ripped, the strongest, fastest or fittest; I do it to allow myself to feel capable in my body and live life on my terms. When I can’t bring myself to go for my usual intense, CrossFit workouts, I don’t. I stretch, do yoga or simply walk. It’s my body and my rules.
  • Sleep: Not getting enough good quality sleep can throw my entire day off balance, so I do my best to make sure that my entire day works around the aim of sleeping well at night. And this in itself often helps me make the right decisions, health-wise.

Do you feel like you’re losing your motivation to stick with your healthy habits? Which of these five strategies can you see yourself putting into action get it back? Share them in the comments section below.

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About the author

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Michele Lian

I'm a food coach and author of michelelian.com, where I show food lovers how to eat what they want, lose fat and keep it off for life with more ease and less overwhelm. Get started on your own mindful weight-loss journey without having to go on a crash or restrictive eating plan with my FREE, Lose 4 Pounds in 4 Weeks Without Going On A Diet email course.