It’s easy to start doing a healthy habit. What most of us fail with is sustaining these habits for a long time.
Ian Taylor, a senior lecturer in psychology at Loughborough University, explains that many people fall into this trap because the type of motivation needed to start a new behavior is often different from the motivation needed to sustain one.
Many people feel the need to start a new diet or exercise program because they know it’s good for them. Unfortunately, Taylor points out that people dislike the feeling of effort and tend to avoid it, so busy schedules, exhaustion, and guilty pleasures end up winning over diets and workouts.
The good news is that there’s a way to sustain these good habits. If you want to practice these habits for life, here are a few tips that can help you succeed:
Learn how to hack your motivation levels
Your motivation levels can either be your best supporter or your biggest enemy. So, you need to ensure that you are always willing to exercise or eat healthy by learning to hack your motivation.
Our post on a ‘No Bullsh*t Approach to Self-Motivation’ states that you must consciously ask yourself why you want to reach your goal. Reminding yourself of your end goal will make it easier to decide whether you want to snooze or do your workout. Your end goal will also stop you from procrastinating by giving you the push to workout or eat healthy every day.
Join workout classes and support groups
Speaking of motivation, you’ll also be more inspired to exercise when you get support from your workout buddies.
Mark Beauchamp, a professor of exercise and health psychology at the University of British Columbia, explains that social structures make it easier for people to stick with behavior changes. This means you’re more likely to exercise long-term, especially when you gain social connections from your workouts. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to feel socially connected to exercise. You can tag along with a friend who also wants to lose weight or simply join workout classes at the gym to gain a new friend.
Focus on changing your relationship with food
It might be easy to lose weight through fad diets. However, what most people don’t know is that it’s also easy to return to bad habits after doing these fad diets.
Rather than looking for a quick fix, the doctor-recommended weight loss plan on WeightWatchers shows that you should focus on improving your relationship with food through proper meal planning. You need to understand nutritional factors like calories, added sugars, fiber, protein, and more to create a well-balanced diet. This knowledge will help you lose weight for a long time because you will better understand healthy meals and portion sizes.
Be more mindful of your eating behaviors
It seems that mindfulness should not only be applied to meditation. Senior clinical dietitian Gabrielle Gambino explains that you can also rebuild your relationship with food by practicing mindful eating. This practice encourages you to observe your feelings, thoughts, physical sensations, and environment during a meal to slow down your eating process. Mindfulness also keeps you in tune with how you feel about the food and how much you eat. By becoming more aware of your body’s sensations, you can detect when you’re full so that you can end any habits of overeating.
It’s not easy to sustain diets and exercise programs. You’ll need to arm yourself with the right strategies and knowledge so that healthy living will be much easier to do every day.