Good habits don’t just come naturally. With planning, time and focus they become part of your every day life. For many, what used to be a chore becomes so normal they can’t imagine life without it; things like having a smoothie for breakfast or running after work. Here’s how you can make those good habits stick.
Get Specific and Build it Into Your Routine
First things first, choose something specific you want to accomplish, even if it’s something different each month. For example:
- February: Go to a gym class two times a week.
- March: Take a walk during lunch three times a week.
- April: Take a weekend hike at least twice.
It’s easier to build healthy habits into your routine if you have a specific target. Once that’s done, pencil them into your calendar. On every Sunday, choose the two days you’ll go to your gym class that week, and find a time where you already have space open.
If you just go home after work, do it then. If your day doesn’t start until 10am, do it in the morning. The key to making good habits stick is making them work for you, not the other way around.
Make it Fun
Nothing is fun if you treat it like work. So, don’t choose healthy habits you know you’ll never like to do. If you’ve always hated running, don’t make it a goal. Try taking a fitness class. With loud music and a great instructor, you’ll forget you’re scorching upwards of 1,000 calories.
Include Your Friends
Bring a friend to the gym to help motivate you from simply getting to the gym to following through with a tough workout. Plan for a few friendly competitions like a race on the treadmill or bike. If you’re not competitive, do workouts that require two people. Try:
- Medicine ball toss
- Full sit-ups (the other person sits on your toes)
- Plank high-fives
Start With a Challenge
The best way to make good habits stick is to try a challenge. These are becoming more popular, so there are plenty of them out there. These challenges usually last a month, or 30 days, and include a different task for each day. This helps keep you accountable—use social media to track your progress—and some of the programs even have a Facebook page where you can talk with other people who are participating as well.
Need some challenges to try? Head to 30DayFitnessChallenges.com, where you can choose from dozens of challenges that focus on various parts of your body like your abs, and different exercises like planks and pushups. The website also offers healthy recipes to support your efforts.
Making good habits stick is simple if you do it right. Start slow and specific, and focus on habits you think you’ll like, at least at first. Recruit friends to help, find a class at the gym or start a 30-day challenge to get you pumped up.