Hello! It's Nicola from Eat Well NZ here with you today. I thought I'd share with you some of my favourite, most useful tips on getting healthy, happy habits to stick. Whether you're trying to get fit, change eating habits or learn to relax more, changing behaviour long term can be HARD. But if you get your mindset right, stay prepared and get support and encouragement it becomes much easier. Today is the day to stop thinking and start changing! Here's how you can do it:
1. Be specific on your motivations
Whatever you want to do, get really specific about why you want to make the
change. It's something we often gloss over on deciding to make change, but
it's a key part to staying on track. Let's just say you want to start exercising. If
you write down your motivation is "because I want to feel better about myself"
then this isn't good enough. Not that there's anything wrong at all with wanting
to feel better - hey, who doesn't, but we need to be more specific. What does
feeling better actually mean for you? For example "I want to feel fitter, stronger
and have more energy each day". Reflecting back on the reasons for change
can get you through the times when you want to throw in the towel. When you
want to skip another workout - you can think, "No, because I want to feel fitter,
stronger and more energetic". That's so much more motivating than the non
specific "because I want to feel better"
2. One step at a time
When you've decided to make some changes, it feels all very exciting and it's
easy to want to try and change everything all at once. While this works for some
people, more often than not it can get too hard and you end up throwing in the
towel. I see it a bit in my work as a nutritionist. Someone decides to make huge,
radical changes to their diet, then get overwhelmed by it all and throw in the
towel. I encourage people to break change up into stages and add to it. For
example, if you've got a massive sweet tooth, give up sugary drinks first, then
once you've conquered that habit, focus on other sources of sugar.
3. Be prepared
Preparation is key for success, especially in terms of making nutrition
changes. If you're wanting to eat well, make sure your pantry is well stocked
with healthy foods. It's also a good idea to have on hand some healthy treats
for when those cravings hit. You're much less likely to head down to the store to buy junk food if you've got some yummy, healthy things at home. Some of
my favourite treats are fudgey protein bites (as pictured), raspberry, coconut and chia pudding and this healthy chocolate slice.
4. Figure out what the bad habit does for you
If you're wanting to break a bad habit, it's really useful to figure out what benefit
it has for you. Sounds weird, but whatever your bad habit, it's actually serving
you some sort of purpose. This doesn't mean it's good for you though and what
the aim is is to find something else to give you that gratification. For example, if
you're eating a block of chocolate when you get home from work, figure out why.
It might be that it relieves your stress from a hard day, or you're treating it as your
reward for a tough day. Once you know this, you can figure out what to replace
your bad habit with - what would be a healthier option than what you're currently
5. Enlist some support
Encouragement is such a boost when you're trying to change. Get a friend,
family member or work mate on board with you so you can stay accountable to
each other. There's also lots of apps that can help motivate you to work out, eat
healthy and stay on track. Some of my favourites for exercise are Nike Running,
Nike Training Club and Lorna Jane Active.
I hope these tips help you reach your goals in health and wellness. If you'd like
more tips, like my Facebook page and check out my website Eat Well NZ
What are your best tips for making healthy habits stick?
Eat Well NZ
Here Comes the Sun Contributor