A new diagnosis. A decline in energy. A growing desire to be healthier and meet your goals. These all can be reasons to embark on creating new habits. Many times though, actually following through and making those habits stick can be challenging. It’s not a knowledge problem. It’s an execution problem.
That’s where a solid habit strategy comes into play.
Maybe you have tried to develop a new goal or behavior but failed. Instead of blaming yourself, look at the steps you took to get there. Through developing specific, realistic goals, discovering your motivators, and regularly reviewing your habits you CAN make habits work for you.
Here are 3 strategies to consider:
#1 Make your goals SMART
Ensure your goals align with SMART criteria. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. For example, if you want to plan your meals ahead of time, be more specific by including actions and strategies to help you achieve that goal. Including specific dates and times in your goal will help you stay motivated and focused as well. You can put a specific appointment block on your calendar to order prepared meals at the same time each week. Set realistic goals that challenge you to grow but are within reach. To create more realistic goals, start with small simple steps that you feel confident in each week, and then build over time.
#2 Dig Deep and Discover your Motivators
Your habits should be based on what works for you, not someone else. Understanding what is motivating you to change will help you follow through because you want to, not because you have to. If you want to cook more meals at home, explore why that is important to you right now. Keeping your motivators visible in your environment can also help. If your motivation for choosing healthy ingredients over takeout is to nourish your family, try putting a picture of your family eating nutritious foods on the fridge. This will remind you of that feeling and desire to follow through.
Here are some questions to help you understand your motivators:
- “Why do I want this goal?” Describe why you want to make this change.
- “Why is this habit important right now? Will it be important 5 years from now?”
- “How will making this change affect other areas of my life? How do you feel about these changes?”
- “How do you feel when you think about your goal? Are you excited or worried? If you’re worried, what could you do to make those feelings more positive?”
#3 Review Your Habits Regularly
To successfully develop a habit that works for you, reflect intentionally on what is working well and not working so well. If you feel like “habits aren’t for you” because you have “failed” in the past, consider viewing your previous attempts as learning opportunities. To do this, measuring and reviewing your goals is necessary. If the commitment to reviewing habits regularly feels intimidating or challenging, you may need support from a registered dietitian who can coach you through these changes.
Ready to make your habits work for you? Check out All Access Dietitians for help with nutrition habit building, self-motivation, and behavior change. The program may be 100% covered by your insurance (no deductible requirement!) with Blue Cross Blue Shield or United Healthcare insurance.
Author: Jenny Westerkamp, RD, CSSD
Founder of All Access Dietitians. All Access Dietitians combines the sciences of nutrition and self-motivation to take your health to the next level. Through their 12-week program, you can work with a Dietitian Coach to create a personalized plan that takes into account your unique needs and preferences. With weekly coaching sessions, you will have a dedicated time to cultivate a new mindset and healthier habits. Head over to their website to see if your program is 100% free with Blue Cross Blue Shield or United Healthcare insurance by completing a complimentary benefits check.