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      The Secrets to Starting (and Maintaining) a Healthy Habit

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      Starting a new healthy habit can be very exciting, but you may find that after a few days of implementing that habit, the excitement fades away. Suddenly, you feel less motivated to continue that habit, despite you knowing how important it is.

      After a few days or weeks, you need more than motivation to keep going. And this is where the secrets come in.

      There are several things that are needed when first starting a healthy habit that will lead to long term adherence.

      If you implement these things from the start, you will find that maintaining the habit long term will not only be easy, but be enjoyable (which will actually help you stick to it).

      Follow these steps below, and comment what healthy habit you will implement!

      1. Choose a habit can imagine yourself maintaining long term

      It’s so important to choose a habit that you can maintain long term.

      I know what you’re thinking – well can’t I stop once I reach my goal? The answer is going to be no. 

      Let’s use weight loss as an example. 

      There have been countless times that people have lost several pounds, and gained them right back.

      Why does this happen? Well, it’s because people do not maintain those habits they used to lose the weight. This could be calorie counting, cutting out desserts, or running 1 hour every day.

       If your habit isn’t sustainable, the results won’t be. 

      Once you return to your previous habits, you will likely find that your progress goes down the drain.

      So, instead of choosing a healthy habit that is super difficult to maintain past a few weeks or months, choose a healthy habit that you can imagine yourself maintaining for the remainder of your days.

      For example, I know that waking up at 5am every morning is unmaintainable for me. Instead, I may modify this habit to waking up at 6:30am every weekday and 8am every weekend. 

      I know that this is much more maintainable for me and I picture myself doing this long term.

      Of course, everyone is different, so be sure to choose a habit you can stick to, not what someone else was able to stick to.

      2. Be as specific as possible

      It’s super important to be as specific as possible when starting a healthy habit. 

      Saying you will start eating more vegetables is far too vague.

      What does that mean? Adding a serving per day? Per meal? Adding an additional variety of vegetables per week?

      In order to measure your success, you need to be specific. Instead of saying you will eat more vegetables, try this out:

      I will eat one extra serving of vegetables at lunch 5 days of the week.

      Not only is this habit realistic, it is specific enough where you can know for sure if you have reached your goal each week.

      Additionally, the more specific the goal, the more accomplished you will feel when you are able to consistently achieve it.

      3. Create accountability

      Accountability can be super helpful for many people.

      This may mean announcing on Facebook that you will be adding spinach to your daily smoothie, talking to your friends about adding a tablespoon of nuts into evening dessert, or just simply writing down your goal on a sticky note on your bathroom mirror.

      However you want to do it, find a way that you can either keep yourself accountable or have others help you out.

      There are many great groups on social media that are wonderful at keeping people accountable. 

      I have found some great ones on Facebook. Simply type something on the search bar and you will likely find a group to help keep you accountable!

      4. Before you give up, modify!

      Finally, remember that when a habit starts becoming too difficult to maintain, giving up is not the only answer!

      Of course you can try powering through it, but if it becomes too disruptive to your daily life or is just downright unenjoyable, it’s ok to modify it.

      Let’s loop back to my example about waking up at 6:30am on weekdays and 8am on weekends.

      Maybe I try this out for a few months but every Sunday morning, I have to be dragged out of bed.

      An easy swap in this scenario is to turn off my alarm on Sundays! I can still maintain my wake up calls on the other days of the week.

      This way, I am not throwing the whole habit away just because one day was difficult to me. Instead, I’m modifying it to make it more enjoyable and maintainable for me.

      Same with the veggies at lunch time. Maybe I reduce it to 4 days a week. Maybe I will change it to dinnertime instead of lunch time.

       There is no need to feel shame and guilt around modifying the healthy habit. 

      As long as you are making an improvement from where you were before you started implementing the habit, you are making a positive change in your life!

      Final tips on starting a healthy habit

      To sum it up, it’s important to choose habits that are easily maintainable. This way, you will be able to sustain the habit long term.

      Though it’s tempting to choose a challenging and exciting habit that will create quick results, this is not always the best choice.

      You will likely find that while you find the habit easy to maintain for the first few days, once your initial motivation fizzles, so does your habit.

      This is why maintainability is key. 

      When you choose a healthy habit that you can picture yourself doing for the rest of your life, you’ll find that you will not only have wonderful results, but also enjoy your life more.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article! If you have any questions or comments, please contact me directly through email or comment down below. Also, follow me on Instagram @tasteitwithtia for free resources and healthy recipes.

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      ABOUT ME

      tia glover rd

      My name is Tia and I am a registered dietitian and content creator.

      My goal is to help young people learn how to eat a nutritious, balanced diet without restriction or giving up cultural foods. 💛

      Hapa/Japanese American 🇺🇸🇯🇵

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