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  • Writer's pictureGregory D. Hamilton

Creating a Blueprint for Building Healthy New Habits



How to Build Healthy New Habits

 

It’s the time of year when everyone wants to build new habits, and “getting in shape” is always one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions.

 

I love it, of course, and welcome everyone who’s starting this month – and all my returning friends who are back for more strength, endurance, and agility.

 

Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of people build healthy habits that last long after the holiday thrill fades. How’d they do it? Here are some common success factors for you to keep in mind.

 

1.     Set SMART goals

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. So, apply this to building habits, as well. Instead of saying, “I will exercise more,” say, “I’m going to the gym three times a week for at least 30 minutes through January, and then I will add 15 minutes each day starting in February.”

 

2.     Start small

Research, and a terrific best-selling book, tell us that “atomic” (small) changes are the best. Avoid statements like, “I’m going to lose 20 pounds this month,” and set more realistic expectations.

 

3.     Celebrate little victories

Did you hit your workout goal for the week? Treat yourself to a fancy coffee. Dropped that first pound? Give yourself a high-five in the mirror.

These little victories are so important to acknowledge.

 

4.     Remember your ‘why’

Let’s admit it: There will be days when you don’t feel like exercising. Just remember WHY you started in the first place. To rule the golf course this spring? Walk your granddaughter down the aisle? Turn around a doctor’s warning? That’s the secret fuel to keep you going.

 

5.     Workout with your partner or a friend

Working out with a pal makes it way more fun. A trainer and a small group can serve the same purpose. Talk to us about making these valuable connections.

 

6.     Tie habits together

Here’s another gem from “Atomic Habits” –What is the best way to link a new habit to an existing one?

Connecting your new habit to an existing one can increase your chances of success. Try linking the new habit to an activity you already do regularly to help it become a natural part of your routine.

 Let’s say you want to start each morning with 5 minutes of meditation. Do this RIGHT AFTER you brush your teeth or walk the dog. Makes it super-easy.

 

7.     Choose fun

If exercise feels like a drag, you’re less likely to do it. Choose something that’s fun for you, no explanation or apology to anyone. Weightlifting, yoga, jogging, dancing… Whatever gets you moving!

 

8.     Keep track of yourself

Take a photo and record measurements when you start. Record progress weekly, even if it seems minor.  Here’s why: Small progress adds up, and when you feel like you’re not getting anywhere, there’s nothing more motivating than reviewing your record… and seeing how far you’ve come.

 

Talk with me about all these ideas and more, if you need help. I want to see you continue long past the strong “resolve” part of “resolutions” goes away. It’s the consistency you’re after, that’s the key to making this work!

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