Building Good Habits for Good Health: a Quick Guide

woman in black tank top and black pants walking on sidewalk during daytime
Photo by Jozsef Hocza on Unsplash

Establishing a set of good habits is a step in the right direction toward achieving a healthy and rewarding life, but it’s not always a walk in the park. These good habits can range from wellness routines like going to the gym and walking or running for fitness, which sounds great on paper but can be hard to do consistently. A study published by the National Institutes of Health found that about one-third of those trying to build good habits consider the lack of willpower a significant barrier to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Meanwhile, a ScienceDaily report states that 45% of Americans struggle to sustain healthy habits during the holiday season especially.

With a myriad of factors that can hamper consistency, building and maintaining good habits can be a struggle. But it’s important to remain consistent and build on small, easy steps that lead to habitual formation. If you’re wondering how here’s a quick guide to building good habits for good health:

Developing Habits Through Small Steps

Creating and maintaining habits can start with small and manageable steps that can lead to significant improvements in the long run. For instance, starting with a simple habit of allotting five minutes of stretching or fifteen minutes of brisk walking in the morning can help you build consistency in achieving a healthier lifestyle. After all, progress and habitual changes are not achieved overnight.

These baby steps are essential to habit formation, as they can serve as building blocks that can be developed into consistent behaviors that lead to larger transformations. But how do you start those baby steps? Here are specific strategies for habit-building to help you achieve healthy living:

Tips for Developing Healthy Habits

Find the Right Motivation

Being motivated to build and maintain your good habits is key to staying consistent. For instance, finding your motivation for weight loss can help you sustain effective exercise and diet habits for a healthy lifestyle. Motivation can come from things as simple as doing exercises that you enjoy or joining a community that focuses on shared weight loss goals. Research by the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology also found that people who embark on a weight loss journey with friends are more likely to succeed and maintain fitness, especially since social support is key for motivating people to adhere to good habits and wellness routines. Finding the right motivation for you is thus essential to building good habits for a healthy lifestyle.

Follow a Plan, Remind, And Reward System

Research published in Nature shows that structures play an important role in sticking with behavioral changes. An example of such a structure that can be followed is the plan, remind, and reward system, which can help you develop a regular workout habit. Through this method, you can make plans such as exercising or heading out to the gym, set calendar reminders on your devices, and reward yourself for showing up. Rewards can be as simple as getting a much-needed massage or buying something you’ve been eyeing for quite a while. That way, you won’t forget healthy habitual practices and instead look forward to going to the gym, helping you reinforce a good habit that lets you prioritize your health and wellness goals.

Stay on Track

Another way to build up a healthier routine is to simply keep track of the activities that you were able to accomplish. A study published in BMC Public Health found that the consistent tracking of physical activity and diet resulted in a more successful weight loss journey. Tracking your behavior also lets you take accountability for failing to maintain healthy habits and allows you to monitor your progress and improvement. You can do this through a journal, phone, or computer and apply this system to all sorts of healthy habits like sleeping earlier, eating healthier, and much more.

Building good habits can help you achieve a better life, but it’s not always easy to follow them. By finding the right motivation, following a consistent structure, and keeping track of your progress, you can establish good habits that allow you to reap the rewards of a healthy life.