Forget Resolutions! Try Creating Healthy Habits

By Deb Brown, NSCA-cpt, cwc, cns

As we head into February, many people find their motivation to keep their New Year’s resolutions failing. We always encourage our clients to work on healthy habits and behaviors rather than making resolutions. Working on a healthy habit is a longer term proposition; one that requires thought, planning and daily effort. How do you create a healthy habit? Here are the steps we work on with our clients:

  1. Analyze current health behaviors and figure out what you need to change. Pick just one or two behaviors to work on at a time.
  2. Visualize the big picture: what do you want to look like and feel like at your optimal level of health?
  3. Create a goal around the healthy habit you would like to establish. Write the goal down and include the timeframe. Why are you motivated to change? What obstacles might stand in your way and what strategies can you use to overcome them?
  4. Create small, daily tasks that you can do to move forward with creating the habit.
  5. Track your progress and correct as you go; adjust as needed.
  6. Enlist friends and family as your support system.
  7. Once you have some success with creating one healthy habit; move on to the next!

Here is an example from my own life:

I would like to get in the habit of reducing gluten in my diet by 90%. I feel much better physically and mentally when I am not eating gluten, and I have more energy. I also sleep better. The main obstacle standing in my way is just a time issue: I often have to plan special meals that are different from what my family eats. This is simply a matter of making sure I have enough time to plan and cook the meals I need to eat, as well as always have those ingredients on hand. My goal this month is to buy GF bread, waffles and pasta and to use those products instead of the regular ones. I will also order gluten-free options when out at restaurants if possible. Tomorrow, I will eat all GF products and no gluten at all. I will also track my food intake and how this is affecting my energy.

Dave and I have recently launched a brand new app for the iPhone and iPod touch called SnapHabit. Available on the App Store, this app provides a comprehensive framework to support habit change using the process that has worked for our clients for years! For more information, go to www.yourwellnessportal.com or www.AppStore.com/SnapHabit.

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