Life is messy and full of distractions. How many of us planned to go to bed early only to stay up streaming our favorite shows? What about scheduling time to work out, then getting caught up in work and running out of energy? Even when you’re highly motivated, it’s easy to get sidetracked. That’s OK. The key is finding ways to reset, bring yourself back into balance and set yourself up for lasting success.
Motivation is a driving force for change, but not all motivation is equal. Some motivation is controlled by outside forces like praise, while a powerful one comes from within and is tied to your values. For example, you may choose to be active because you love a certain activity. When a habit is personally meaningful, you are more likely to sustain it.
“Building healthy habits takes time and dedication, but doesn’t have to be overwhelming,” says Alyssa Burnison, MS, RD, LN, and the director of program and nutrition, lead registered dietitian and licensed nutritionist at Profile Plan. “Incorporating just one of the following tips can make a world of difference.”
1) Give yourself a break: The first step in the reset process is to give yourself a break. Life is hard and we all slip up from time to time. Forgive yourself, approach your journey with compassion and don’t waste time on shame, frustration or guilt. You’re here now and ready to commit to yourself.
2) Start the planning process: Prior planning prevents poor performance. Take stock of what condition your habits are in. Have you slipped up on good habits and need to rebuild them, or do you need to start from scratch? Do you have to eliminate bad habits before you can build new ones? Write down your good and bad habits so you can monitor them throughout your process.
3) Make motivation part of your routine: Be sure you’ve defined your “why” – the reasons you want to build new habits. Then, find ways to remind yourself of your why. Put notes on a mirror or a kitchen cabinet. Change your phone background to a photo or quote that motivates you. Find any way that reminds you why your efforts are worthwhile.
4) Start small: Setting a large goal can be intimidating and feel unachievable. Instead, break larger goals into smaller, specific steps that will work for you. You don’t need to hit the gym for an hour every day to see results. Start by finding ways to increase activity throughout the day. Take the stairs more often or park further away from the building. Small changes add up quickly.
5) Link a new habit to an existing one: The easiest way to make a new habit stick is to connect it with an ingrained one. Instead of just walking to get your mail, extend your trip and walk a few blocks as well.
6) Cut comparison: Comparison is your biggest enemy. No two people have the same journey, and you are sabotaging yourself by comparing your progress to others’. Focus on reminding yourself how far you’ve come.
7) Make it exciting: Whether you’re trying to eat better, exercise more or simply build healthy habits like better sleep hygiene, make it exciting for yourself by trying new things. Visit food blogs for recipe ideas. Try a new exercise like rock climbing. Build a relaxing bedtime routine you can look forward to.
8) Don’t give up too soon: It takes time to build a routine. You won’t create healthy habits by doing them once or twice. On average, it takes at least two months, and sometimes up to a year, for a new habit to become routine.
9) Track your progress: To make a new habit stick, you have to build accountability. Make a plan, then track your progress. Habit trackers will help you monitor your meals, build your self-care plan and track your progress toward your healthy habit goals. You can create your own or find one to download online. Profile’s can be found at profileplan.com/profile-planner.
10) Find support: Create your own cheering section by asking friends and family to support you. Make healthy recipes together or go for group walks. If you need even more help, coaches can be an amazing resource for support and guidance.
“Embrace just a few of these ideas and you’ll be headed in a healthier direction,” says Burnison. “You can always add on as you make progress — that’s what our coaches tell Profile Plan members.”