5 Tips for creating healthy habits

3 min read

How we create and maintain our habits is often directly linked to our health (both mental and physical). Your daily habits are the actions that will end up having the biggest long-term impact on your overall body goals of losing weight and building muscle.

Most of us are already tirelessly trying to juggle busy jobs, families and social events, so how do you find time to create these good habits? And how do you stay consistent?

The following 5 tips will show you how a few simple tweaks to your daily routine can help you form habits to enable you to get back on track and achieve the results that you want!

This is a great tool to help you create a new habit. Have a think about actions that you carry out daily anyway (brushing your teeth, having a shower, making your bed) for example. Once you have identified a positive/ daily habit, tag on your new goal to this.

Start small. For example, if you want to do 50 press-ups daily, and you shower every morning, you can link the two together. Write a note and stick it on the shower glass to remind yourself that you will do 50 press-ups before you shower each morning.

Eventually the press-ups (or perhaps body weight squats if you’re thinking of growing your glutes!) will become synonymous with showering and become a habit. This is likely to be re-enforced by the benefits you feel from performing the action as well.

2.Plan realistic goals

Choose actions that you are 90-100% certain that you can do every time (it doesn’t matter if this is something tiny…you can build on it over time).

In order to successfully create a new positive habit, you need to be able to complete the task regularly in the first instance for at least a few weeks. A common issue is that people choose to start a new habit, but aren’t able to repeat it frequently enough for it to become habitual.

3.Prepare to fail

Building a habit is hard, and often takes several attempts. But if you can have a contingency in place to work around those times where issues crop up, you can still keep the daily action in place.

Utilising ‘If-Then’ statements can be a great way of accounting for this variability.

For example:

If I don’t make it to the gym, then I will do a 20 minute circuit at home”

If I go for dinner and want a few beers, then I will not order a starter or dessert”

Obviously you can design your own versions to suit your lifestyle and the areas in which you usually encounter problems with adherence. But having the rules in place really helps with habit formation and reduces the chance of you breaking a habit.

4.Don’t put too much pressure on yourself

You have the rest of your life; there isn’t always a need to change everything at once.

Don’t overburden yourself with too many changes at once. Creating new healthy habits is difficult and can require a fair amount of willpower and thought, so trying to create lots of new habits all at once often results in the creating nothing new at all.

Pick one (maybe 2) things that you feel are the most significant to you at the current time and focus one of those.

This is likely to give you the best chance of success as you can focus on these solely until you are comfortable with them, and build from there.

5.Identify negative habits and replace them with healthy ones

If you can identify negative habits that you are looking to replace or remove, then this is a good place to start, and is also likely to provide the biggest benefits.

Using the tips above, have a think about one negative habit that you currently have, and one positive habit that you’d like to create.

Can you replace the negative habit with the positive one as a direct switch?

Example 1:

  • Negative habit I want to break:

Watching the news when I’m eating breakfast

  • Positive, healthy habit I want to create:

Listen to podcasts about mindfulness

Example 2:

  • Negative habit I want to break:

Watching Netflix until I fall asleep

  • Positive, healthy habit I want to create:

Follow an online yoga course

Write your new habits down and tell someone what you are going to do (this way you’re more likely to action them!) and then try to start from now, not next Monday.

I’d love to know how you get on, so feel free to tag me in your efforts (be accountable) and remember, habits take time to build – be kind to yourself. Give yourself time to adjust and get used to new routines!

James Lee

James Lee

An MNU Certified Nutritionist, qualified Pharmacist and PT working with a diverse range of clients from athletes to general population. James is passionate about improving the health of the nation.