CONTINUING EDUCATION

How to Form Healthy Habits that Stick

Written by Megan Wallace,
Instructor & Dietitian, Sprout Nutrition

As a Registered Nutritionist it is my job to help people form healthy habits. Sure, there is a bit of nutrition information that is usually exchanged, but for the most part, it is figuring out the how when it comes to changing the way we think and behave to reach our goals!

When trying to make healthy habits that stick, here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. KISS – Keep It Simple Sunshine!

Okay, maybe sunshine isn’t the most popular word associated with this acronym, but you get the point. Choose 1 – 3 SIMPLE goals to attack at once. Trying to overhaul your life like going vegetarian, committing to 5 days of exercise after couch-potatoing it for 6 months AND quitting your evening glass of wine habit is probably going to back fire. It might feel good for the first couple days, even for the first week, but when life happens, and it will… you are much more likely to fall back to old routines.

Tackle one of these, and keep it simple – if you want to move towards going vegetarian, start with cooking 3 vegetarian meals a week… and keep everything else the same. When that feels good, then move on to the next step. This allows you to get comfortable moving forward with small changes instead of living a completely foreign life for the sake of your goals, coming home from a stressful day and giving up on your goals because ‘you failed’ with a bucket of fried chicken and a Netflix marathon.

2. Make sure the changes you want to make align with your values!

If you want to see success with any of your goals, they have to fit with your values. If you cannot stand the gym, but decide to sign up to a popular gym on the way home from work to finally ‘whip your body into shape’, you probably won’t be very successful. Instead, find a source of movement you LOVE to do, or at least like to do!  Take a dance class, find a walking buddy, take up cross country skiing – you don’t have to spend 45 minutes grinding it out on the elliptical or avoiding eye contact in the weight room mirrors to meet your goal of getting into shape.

3. Be really ready.

Research on forming wellness habits shows that the more times we attempt a goal, and fail, the more our confidence falls. Quite often we can get swept up in cultural expectations to make changes, like New Years resolutions, or even the start of a new week, new month, but none of these ‘resets’ in timing will help you be ready. Think about what you want to achieve, consider the things you may need to change, and/or the support you may need in place. Think about how you might feel if you were to make those changes right now, what would life look like if you were to reach your goal right now? What if you weren’t?

The most successful people (when it comes to lifestyle change) that I have worked with are ready. They have thought about their path and what changes they need to make; they are ready to take on the challenges and celebrate the successes that come with it all. Don’t let the date on the calendar or the time of year dictate when you will be ready… you decide for yourself, because when you are, you can be unstoppable.

Get the facts

Learn from the best! Megan is teaching several classes with us this fall. You can also find her page on Facebook, Sprout Nutrition.

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