Friday, September 20, 2013

Contributor | How to Get Healthy Habits to Stick

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 doing?

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?

Nicola Graham
Eat Well NZ
Here Comes the Sun Contributor


  1. Amazing tips and gorgeous photos, I love the water bottle! x

  2. the first tip is the best.
    now I know how to motivate myself everyday!

  3. Thanks for the tips! Those healthy snacks look really yum.

  4. One step at time that's very important to remember!
    Have a great day!♥ xo

  5. These are some great tips! I'll definitely be keeping them in mind :)

  6. Awesome tips. I really need these, I'm trying to live a healthier life; just to eat better, exercise and be happier. Great post!

  7. Stay focused and motivated is the most important thing! You just need 21 days to get used to a new (healthy!) habit :)


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