The #1 Mistake You're Making When It Comes to Keeping a Healthy Habit
How to stay healthy is one of the biggest questions we always ask ourselves every time the New Year rolls around. Just how do we stick to that healthy habit we promised we'd stick to? First up, though, before you start heading into that spiral of despair, allow us to help you alleviate all that guilt. The majority of people don't ever actually achieve their resolutions. In fact, only 8% manage to make good on their goals. Despite the law of probability being stacked against us, even in 2017 the top resolution was losing weight and healthier eating.
So even when you set yourself those goals, why can’t you stick to them? In truth, it boils down to this: You’re setting unrealistic targets. While you might want to run a marathon, the truth is just upping your weekly exercise routine might be a better idea and more manageable. With this in mind, how can you ensure the changes you’ll make will stick? We’ve hunted down some tricks to stop you from giving up. Keep scrolling for our hacks on how to stay healthy…
#1: Set Simple Goals
If, say, you want to get healthier by losing weight, changing your diet or working out more, you have to make it easy enough to achieve. By that we mean it shouldn't be such a huge mountain of a goal to overcome because you'll just feel like giving up. It's important to ensure you make small changes to your lifestyle that you will be able to stick to. The idea is that this small and simple task will become a habit that gets absorbed into your everyday life so that it becomes just that: a habit.
According to a study about healthy habits, in one particular case in which participants each conducted a healthy activity, the habit was eventually formed after 66 days. Essentially, if you really want it to stick you have to do it for at least 66 days.
#2: Make a Plan
We're fans of making a plan when we want to achieve something. And it seems that science backs this up, too, particularly when trying to form a habit. In one study that followed patients taking a particular medication schedule, those "patients without a plan followed their medication schedule 55% of the time; but when patients wrote just a single sentence outlining their plan, they took their medication correctly 79% of the time." So, for example, if you're trying to remember to eat better, start a food diary and plan your meals. We recommend app MyFitnessPal, as it contains all the food calories for you.
#3: Don't Tell Anyone
This might sound strange as you'd think that, by telling people, you'd feel like you have to do the healthy habit even more. But it turns out that's not quite how our brains work. Timothy Pychyl, associate professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, warns against this, and for good reason.
Pychyl revealed, “Sometimes it’s the absolute worst thing you could do, to tell everyone, because it already gives you some kind of reward. Present self-wins, future self-loses.” So don't go telling everyone you're going to start training for that marathon before you've even begun.
Your healthy-habit starter kit:
Want more inspo for healthy eating? Check out these breakfast mistakes you might be making.
Opening Images: Madewell