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How can I achieve healthy habits?

At some point we have all made a list of things we want to change in our lives, or things we want to achieve to make it better. We start with an ambitious list that is nearly always impossible to achieve and when we fail, we feel disillusioned, guilty, a failure. However, it doesn’t need to be like that. Creating and maintaining positive changes isn’t easy, but we’re here to help you to smash your goals and achieve new healthy habits that have a positive impact on every aspect of your life.

Planning

Nobody would set a goal of running a marathon the next day without having developed a plan to succeed by preparing a detailed training schedule, starting small and increasing the distance and the time of training.

Likewise, every healthy habit you hope to achieve should be broken down into manageable smaller parts. As each part is accomplished the feeling of achievement will spur you on, until the new habit becomes part of your life without thinking about it.

Make goals

Make your goals specific. Don’t be vague. Make them clear and well defined. You should set yourself a measurable goal with a time limit.

For example, I will cut my coffee intake to 1 cup a day by Christmas or I will lose 2 stone in weight by this date next year.

Most importantly, make the goal attainable.

Think of ways to get you started and encourage you. If you plan to start running, leave your running shoes at the front door so you can see them. If you plan to lose weight, fill the fridge with healthy food.

You may want to have a start date or you may just want to go for it now.

Support your progress

Keep track of your progress and how you are going to support yourself as you work towards your goal. Use a diary, a notebook, a spreadsheet, or there may be a suitable app available for your phone. Fill them with tips, strategies, inspirational quotes, anything that uplifts or inspires you. Make a visualisation board with thoughts and pictures of how you want your new lifestyle to be and importantly how it will make you feel. Although research says it takes 3 weeks to change a habit, in reality it could take several months before permanent change takes place. Think of obstacles that may hinder your progress and plan tactics to overcome them. Along the way you may have a slip up, back to your old ways but that’s alright. Don’t beat yourself up. Be kind to yourself, and use it to find out why. Perhaps you were tired, lonely, stressed or maybe there didn’t appear to be a reason. In these cases write down some distraction measures you could use in the future. Perhaps phone a friend, have a bath or walk the dog.

Use a buddy system

Tell your family and friends about your goals and plans. Their support is invaluable. Positive friends will energise and encourage you and congratulate you on even small achievements. They may even join you in your new regime or offer to be there if you sometimes feel low. Avoid negative friends – at least for a while.

Rewards

Reward yourself with every small success. It can be taking time to read a book, listening to music or painting your nails. Something you enjoy. After all, you deserve it.

Imagine the future

Spend time imagining how the new changes will impact your life and think about how the new benefits will make you feel.

Be patient and kind to yourself

Change can take time, and there can be setbacks along the way but don’t give up. If you feel that you have other health issues it is important you seek professional help. You’re never too old, too unfit, too unhealthy, too anything to make choices to help you. Keep moving forward and the rewards you achieve will motivate you to plan for a better, happier and successful future.

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