Fitness, Tips & Techniques, Wellness / Self-Care

5 tips on how to start (and keep) a Healthy habit

Put in the work.

words by: Sahar Khraibani
Feb 5, 2022

Starting healthy habits is something we all do, all the time. But from my experience, it is often very hard to stick with them.

 

So, here are some tips on how to approach keeping these healthy habits that you’re starting on your journey to achieving your fitness goals.

 

1. Begin with something smaller and easier than you had first intended

It’s probably not going to last if it’s fast. It’s more about repetition—being able to show up and do the work repeatedly—than it is about obtaining results as quickly as possible when it comes to developing a habit. In the case of health and fitness, it’s all about taking tiny steps on a regular basis; otherwise, the results won’t last.

 

When you start small, you lessen your resistance to doing it regularly, which increases the possibility of long-term improvement. So, for example, if you want to be able to run 20 miles, start by doing half a mile a day, and then increasing it as you go.

 

2. Make a mental and linguistic shift

Simply changing how you think and talk about working out and eating better has shown to be beneficial. Rather than stating, “Ugh, I have to go to the gym today,” recognize that it isn’t true. It’s a decision you’re making.

 

Instead, you can reframe it as “I get to go to the gym today,” or “I’m making a decision to go to the gym today.” After a few months of working out regularly and talking about it favorably, you begin to crave going to the gym or working out.

 

3. No whining or complaining is permitted

Whining or complaining takes way too much energy—energy that could be directed towards getting yourself out the door. Sometimes we do it unconsciously. So, the next time you catch yourself complaining, identify the thought and interrupt it. This works wonders.

 

4. Improve your goal setting skills

Setting a goal to work out a number of days each week seems to work best for most people. It can be one, two, or three—whatever feels small and straightforward in your situation. So, just make it a goal to show up, and you’ll have already won. It’s not a big deal if you skip one or more days. It should be simple to reintroduce and maintain the habit if you start small enough.

 

5. And lastly, be kind to yourself

This is a basic task, but it is also one of the most crucial and difficult. When you’re not kind to yourself at times when you don’t eat well for a few days or when you get lazy, it’s easy to get into a shame spiral. You’re less likely to get back on track if you beat yourself up.

 

You’re more inclined to give up or say things like, “Why bother anyway?” Being kind and gentle to yourself during difficult times will help you progress and maintain consistency.

 

If you want to workout from the comfort of home, here are some exercises you can do at your desk and some of the best under-desk workout equipment to check out.

 

Photo via Michael Driver/NPR