Well-Being//

Why Is It So Hard to Keep Healthy Habits?

...and why do we ask too much of ourselves when planning our goals?

Westend61/Getty Images
Westend61/Getty Images

By Jessica S.

Remember when you signed up for the gym and vowed to go every day? How are you doing on your weight loss goal? Just this morning my sister texted me saying, “I’m going to try and eat clean this week. I can’t stand the way I’ve been feeling.” So why do we make plans to make HEALTHY changes to our habits and fall short on the follow-through?

On average, it takes more than two months before a new behavior becomes automatic. Two months doesn’t seem like a long time, but when you are attempting to make a healthy habit a part of your daily living, it can feel like decades. As humans, we gravitate toward the familiar, and we enjoy the sense of security that the repetition of our habits give us. We dish out some steps to overcoming that obstacle and getting that healthy habit to stick:

Be Clear with Your Habit Change

When you’re trying to set up a new healthy habit, it is very necessary to be as clear as possible with what you are changing. When you are thinking of your habit, view it as something you are already including with your daily life. When you make the habit precise and already in progress, your mind will subconsciously make the habit take affect. For example, if you want to drink more water, you can say, “I am having a bottle of water with my spinach salad today” or “I will refill my 20 ounce water bottle two more times before I leave the office.”

Bite-size Pieces Taste Just As Good

I have found that the smaller the habit change, the easier it is to keep it. Smaller scales mean smaller measurements—literally, if you’re counting calories! I take the ultimate goal that will result from my health habit change, and I break it down into small pieces. Let’s say I want to lose 50 pounds. Instead of looking at the BIG picture, I simply set my standard to 5’s. I measure my success on five-pound increments, 230 pounds, 225 pounds, 220 pounds, and so on. Each five-pound loss is a success and, eventually, they will accumulate to my overall total.

Ask Your Vinas for Some Help

Holding yourself accountable can be difficult, but very well worth it. There are a lot of apps that help remind and track your habit changes. If your phone is stuck in your hand most of the day, what better way to get into your healthy habit than with a pesky notification reminding you? The tried-and-true method of paper tracking is still a great option for people that use planners and rely on them for their daily tasks.

One of the most effective ways of accountability is inviting a friend along. Choose a vina that you trust, can be honest with, and will have your best interest at heart. Leaving yourself open and vulnerable to hearing feedback from your vina will persuade you to make the right decisions and follow through with your healthy habits.

Habits are hard to break. The ones that we have already formed have been a part of our daily lives and have given us to comfort and solace that we are always seeking. Creating a new healthy habit out of an old one will take time, but once you see the change you expected, it will be worth it.

Join other vinas trying to keep healthy habits on Hey! VINA, hold each other to your goals, and, most importantly, support each other!

Originally published on Vinazine.com.

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