5 Simple Steps to Create Sustainable Healthy Habits
This article covers the second of three non-negotiables for creating sustainable healthy habits - The Right Plan. The other non-negotiables are The Right Mindset and The Right Accountability. These are the foundational components of our The Master Healthy Habits Method.
We start the Master Healthy Habits Method by discussing the basics of a healthy lifestyle. Next, we define what clients should aim for to master a healthy lifestyle. Finally, we help clients simplify all the confusion and develop simple guiding principles for these areas:
- Eat better
- Move more
- Reduce Stress
- Improve Sleep
As basic as the guiding principles are, I understand the struggle to implement them in life. You’ll probably agree, good health and wellness don’t just happen. It requires some serious intention. You may be struggling with how to create that intention. Or you have tried so many good things--21-day food challenges, 30-day workout programs, read a bunch of books, joined different fitness studios, hired a trainer--but they haven’t been sustainable and you still haven’t reached your goals.
Here at 7Core, we know how frustrating that can be. It may even seem impossible to have the health you want, feel good about yourself, not crave sweets, or wake up and work out when you would rather sleep.
It isn’t that you haven’t tried the right things, there is a strong possibility that your plan was faulty. Many plans fail because they focus on too many changes at once, fail to account for or consider challenges t, and they try to conquer a whole month instead of a week at a time.
In my own struggle to live a healthy life (especially with eating) and create sustainable habits for myself, I noticed a pattern in my process. Then, I began working with others to create sustainable habits to meet their health goals. I used that pattern of planning with them and they started to develop a simple way to overcome weekly struggles and achieve long-term success. It is freeing when you are finally in charge of your health, instead of allowing your poor health to control you.
So, let’s dive into the simple system to develop the right plan and create sustainable wellness habits. I have divided it into five parts and each one only takes a few minutes of work. All five parts are necessary for success.
It really is possible to create the right plan in only a few minutes of work each week. What difference would it make for you to invest just a few minutes every week to create a success plan? Those few minutes could save you time during the week and give you the confidence you need to achieve your healthy habit.
Here are 5 simple steps to creating The Right Plan:
- Pick a habit.
- Define your why.
- Identify potential challenges.
- Create a plan.
- Get started.
Now, let’s dive a little deeper into each of these.
1. Pick a habit.
We meet our goals by developing solid supporting habits. Rather than focusing on the large goal, look for the smaller habits required to reach your goal. The number of habits you need to establish may seem overwhelming at first and trying to implement all of them at once doesn’t typically lead to the creation of sustainable change or success. So, it is best to pick one or two habits to focus on for two to four weeks until that habit becomes normal for you. If you wonder which habit to focus on first, start with the one you are super confident in implementing. Attack it. Overcome it. Feel great!
2. Define your why.
This is crucial. Be very clear on the why behind your goals. Chances are, it will be deeply personal. Your why is your reason for the goal you have. Your why is the foundation, the driver behind your goal. Remembering it will help you stick to your plan when it gets hard. Imagine how you will feel, what will be able to do, the end result when you have the wellness control you want. No more regret or wishing things were different. You will look back and be so grateful you invested in your health.
3. Identify potential challenges.
Looking ahead, what potential challenges do you foresee over the next week that may keep you from developing your habit or derail your progress? Maybe it is upcoming travel, family in town, social events, kids’ activities, crazy workday, deadline due, etc. Identifying these challenges makes them less of an obstacle and will help you create the most successful plan. Empowerment can really grow when you no longer let a challenge, be a challenge.
4. Create a plan.
Now, you are officially making a plan for the week on how you will make your habit successful. When creating your plan consider these questions: Do I need to block out time in my schedule for working out, preparing meals, and/or self-care? What are the things I need to do to diminish challenges? What will I eat this week? What do I need to prepare ahead to save time in the morning so I can get to the gym? A plan won’t guarantee success, but you can’t be successful without one.
5. Get started.
Take action confidently! Pick a start date and do the thing. Before you realize it, one week has gone by and you are creating another right plan. Then, four weeks will have passed and you will be feeling good about what you have done, the consistency you have achieved, and the progress you have made. No more just thinking about your goals. You will be achieving them. Of course, it won't go perfectly according to plan all the time, but one slip up doesn’t mean you can’t still be successful. Don’t give up, just jump back on the plan the next day or even hour.
Going through these five simple steps will take just a few minutes at the beginning of each week. Literally a few minutes. When you change your focus to a new habit at the beginning of each four weeks, it will take a little longer to get your thoughts down and create a game plan. But, you will be more confident about what you can accomplish with a solid plan. Soon, using this approach to get organized for the week and develop The Right Plan will become a natural habit in itself as you begin to see progress toward your goal.
Still feeling overwhelmed? Get personalized help creating The Right Plan for you.
To successful planning!