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4 tips to make your healthy habits stick

Posted by Joe Wicks in Fitness, Wellbeing

Sticking to a new health and fitness routine is tough, and it can be even harder in the winter when it's cold and dark. In this blog, freelance contributor Kara Wahlgren shares some tips on how to make new habits stick.

By Kara Wahlgren

You've probably heard that doing something for 21 days straight will form a habit. Unfortunately, there's no science to back that up — research shows it can actually takes an average of two months to make a new habit stick, and sometimes even longer.

But even if the magical three-week mark is just a myth, there are a few things you can do to make your healthy lifestyle changes become second nature.

1. Identify your biggest obstacles

Thinking about potential failure might not seem like the best motivational tactic — but the truth is, no matter how gung-ho you are about making healthy changes in your life, you're going to come up against certain obstacles again…and again…and again.

“If you can identify a bad habit and figure out what triggers it, you can change the action," says Liza Baker, an integrative nutrition health coach. For example, if you tend to eat when you're stressed out, try to find another way to deal with stress, like calling a friend or doing a few calming yoga poses.

2. Make changes to support your habits

Once you have a good idea of what's most likely to throw you off track, think about how you can avoid those obstacles altogether. “We are lazy — er, efficient — creatures, so make the healthy choice the easy choice," Baker says.

If you want to start cooking healthy dinners at home more often, try taking a route home from work that doesn't pass your favourite fast food place. If you're trying to curb your late-night snack habit, don't keep ice cream in the freezer. And if you want to get in the habit of hitting the gym before work try preparing your workout kit the night before so it's ready for when you get up. 

If you're short on time and can't get to the gym, try a home workout from The Body Coach TV.

3. Set SMART goals

You'll have a much better chance of sticking to new habits if they're based on SMART goals — a.k.a. goals that are specificmeasurableachievablerealistic, and time-based.

“SMART goals definitely help," says Kaytlyn Sanders, a coach at Beneficial Habits. “Starting with a very achievable goal that can be measured and locked into a specific part of the day will create instinct and success."

So instead of making a vague promise to “eat healthier," you might create a habit of cooking breakfast every morning so you're not tempted to grab a donut on the go. Instead of vowing to “exercise more," you might plan to take a 30-minute walk on your lunch break every day.

4. Get accountability

When you're losing motivation, it helps to know someone is keeping tabs on your progress. If you can find an accountability buddy — someone who'll give you a swift kick when you start backsliding — that's ideal. But if not, here are a few suggestions from Sanders for holding yourself accountable:

• Post about your goals on social media. “Telling someone else — or lots of other people — puts the idea out there that this is really going to happen," she says.

• Set alarms on your phone to remind you to meditate for a few minutes in the morning, or go to bed at a reasonable hour.

• Until your habits become second nature, write them in your daily planner or on your calendar, and mark the days where you successfully stick to those habits. “The visual of checking days off can be motivating," Sanders says.

Eventually, those new habits will become the norm for you — and you'll be ready to tackle the next round of healthy changes.

For more infomation on tailored meal and training plans click here: 90 Day SSS Plan. 

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Joe Wicks

About Joe Wicks

Joe Wicks is the online nutrition coach inspiring people all over the world to cook with his #Leanin15 video meals on Instagram. He is also transforming the lives of thousands of people with his tailored online nutrition plan, The 90 Day Shift, Shape & Sustain plan.

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