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5 ways to Jumpstart Healthy Habits

Some days we are motivated to achieve our goals, and other days, we aren’t. That is why systems are more important than “will power” when achieving goals. Below are five systems that work for me! After reading this, give one of them a try and let me know how it goes!

1. Find an accountability partner. People inherently care what others think of them and having an accountability partner or group can make things more interesting.

  1. How it works for me: Whenever I have an accountability partner, I follow through almost always. I don’t want to let someone else down and I want others to take my word seriously, especially if I respect that person. When I say something, or say I am going to do something, following through is important to me. Because if I don’t, my words won’t mean much to them after that, and I value my word. My health coach (yes I also have one) holds me accountable, but I also have friends and groups to hold me accountable for the goals I set with my coach since I know this system works especially well for me.

2. Replace a bad habit with a good one. Make the bad habit harder to achieve, and the good one easier to achieve.

  1. How it works for me: Moving the remote control to an inconvenient location, or taking the batteries out while putting a good book in a convenient location helps me read instead.

3. Pairing. Pair an action you are trying to make a habit with another action that is already part of your daily, weekly or monthly routine. For example, if you want to start doing 10 pushups a day, you could try doing this right after brushing your teeth since you already brush your teeth everyday.

  1. How it works for me: I started listening to audiobooks and podcasts a few years ago while stretching, since stretching was already a part of my routine. Now, they are both on autopilot for me to do almost daily.

4.Positive reinforcement. Give yourself positive reinforcements along the way to a goal.

  1. How it works for me: I like to make fun plans with friends and allow myself to buy a cute new clothing item once a week. Another reward might be a massage at a spa I normally don’t go to.

5. Start with small goals. Setting a small, non-intimidating goal can help you kickstart the process. Once you hit that goal, your confidence improves, making you want to reach a little bit higher the next time around. Momentum is key.

  1. How it works for me: When I am feeling like I am in a slump or haven’t touched a specific action in a while, this is very helpful. For example, if I am trying to get back into meditating, I will start with a goal of five minutes twice a week. Once I have that down, I will always say “wow that wasn’t hard”, and that will turn into five minutes four times a week which can then turn into fifteen minutes four times a week and so on.

Meet the author Deanna Ceriano, Certified Graduate Duke Integrative Health Coach

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