February is the month where most our New Year’s Resolutions fall off. Why does this happen? We fall out of our intentions when we set goals that we feel we “need to” do or that we “should” do.
So how do we create a healthy habit that sticks?
First things first, don't just adopt a routine from an article you recently read. Adding healthy habits that we feel we need to do or that we should adopt, do not stick! We get excited about this new healthy plan, but eventually over the weeks the infatuation wears off and we forget to do it. To make something stick in your daily routine we need to find something we enjoy or are passionate about. Do not just add a routine from a Facebook add that proclaims it will change your life.
Once we find our missing link, we must implement it daily. In order for a new habit to become a part of our routine, it needs to be implemented daily for a minimum of 2 weeks and up to 2 months. Eventually, the new habit will happen on autopilot. The goal here is repetition. Make this a part of your routine just like brushing your teeth. Do not hesitate before you engage in it or question if you want to do it, make it a consistent part of your day. Now you see why it is so important that you enjoy it!
It always feels great to check something off our “To-Do” list. Measure in time. It is common to say, “I’m going to hit the gym to get a great booty or a six pack”. However, those results are based on so many factors and can be discouraging when we do not see results. My suggestion is to measure in minutes. For example, set a goal to run on the treadmill for 30 minutes. I survive through the 30 minutes I can feel the accomplishment (and most likely the burn)!
If you have been in my therapy sessions, I often use the word “moderation” or “life is a marathon not a sprint”. Meaning we can’t just cut something out of our life. For example, we may cut out pasta for a week but then find ourselves binging on it the following week. Or maybe that is just me! Modify unhealthy habits. If you like to snack on popcorn during your nightly Netflix binges, switch out the popcorn some nights for a healthier choice.
Prep your environment to meet your healthy habit. Buy the foods you wish to eat. If your goal is a morning run, lay out your exercise clothes the night before! If you see it, you will engage in it. Lay out work you need to complete, food you would like to eat, or a project you wish to finish.
There is always Plan B. Life happens.