As we gear up for the holidays and approach the new year, many of us start thinking about our 2020 goals. While we are well-intentioned, why do we so commonly fall through on our goals? We know what we need to do, but we often lose our momentum along the way. If this has ever happened to you, know that you are not alone in building healthy habits. Here are three strategies I’m excited to share with you to help you build healthy habits and achieve your goals.
Building Healthy Habits Requires Motivation
Building Healthy Habits starts with Motivation. If your goal, for example, is to lose weight, you must know your true purpose behind this goal. Ask yourself “Why?” to uncover this. The deeper you go, the better. Maybe you want to lose the pounds to look better. Why? To feel more comfortable so you will participate in more activities. Why? Because you want to spend more time with your partner and children and feeling better will help you be more active. Why? So you can feel more connected with your family and spend more time with who matters most to you. Ask yourself “Why?” until you are clear on your purpose. Identifying a deeper motivator that you can connect with is the foundation needed to build healthy habits.
Psychologist Dan Ariely expands upon this idea of motivation in his Ted Talk: How to change your behavior for the better. Just like a rocketship needs as much fuel as possible for a successful launch, we need as much motivation as possible to take action and build healthy habits. This motivation can take many forms, including the influence of our family and friends, keeping our purpose top of mind, and loss aversion. The more you can connect your habits to your close social network, the more you can remind yourself of your purpose, and the more you can think of things you will lose by not taking your desired actions, the more successful at building healthy habits you will be.
Motivation alone is not enough to build healthy habits. We also have to identify the barriers to the new actions we want to take. In my coaching sessions, I explore what barriers are causing my clients to be stuck, and together we brainstorm how to overcome them. If a big barrier to weight loss is an abundance of sugary snacks at home, removing these from your environment so they are no longer an option to you is one example of how you might do this. And if the friction you are trying to remove seems too overwhelming, then it is a sign to chunk it down into an even smaller action. Perhaps you first remove the biggest sugary culprits like soda and chocolate, but you incorporate some natural sweet alternatives as a replacement. Remember – small steps compound and ultimately lead to big changes.
Taking Dan Ariely’s rocket ship model further, we need to reduce friction in order to send a rocket ship to space. To make the rocket ship as aerodynamic as possible requires changes and every small change matters. Explore where there is friction in your life that is holding you back from your desired behaviors, and see where you can realign your actions to build your healthy habits.
Create Accountability to Sustain Healthy Habits
Studies have shown that accountability support also helps us build healthy habits and sustain them. We as humans care about what other people think – so let’s use that to our advantage. One of the key ways I support my clients is through the accountability support I provide inside and outside of our coaching sessions. Knowing that someone is checking in on you makes you more accountable to your goals, and helps you to build your willpower to eventually become even more accountable to yourself.
To build healthy habits and achieve your goals you must start with a commitment to yourself. Understand what truly motivates you to ensure you stay committed to your goals. Remove any friction that is getting in the way of your healthy habits. And create accountability to sustain your habits and keep you in momentum. Once you put these three strategies into place, you will find it much easier and more enjoyable to achieve your goals! I love supporting my clients in achieving their goals, especially this time of year. If you are ready to elevate your health and realize your potential, schedule your free coaching consult with me today! I look forward to connecting with you!