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Five golden rules for making healthy habits stick

If you’re determined to set some new goals and make some changes to your routine, keep this list handy - these evidence-backed tips might help make those healthy habits stick, for good.

If you’re determined to set some new goals and  make some changes to your routine, keep this list handy - these evidence-backed tips  might help make those healthy habits stick, for good.

 

1. Start small

By all means, aim high, but break things down into small daily wins. Resolutions people actually keep tend to be tangible, achievable goals. The ones that fail are too grand and vague: goals like “exercise more”, “eat healthier” don’t offer solutions, they just reframe the problem. But when getting specific, don’t go from zero to sixty, either. Instead of “eat seven different fruits and vegetables every day,” try “make fruit part of every breakfast.” Focus on that, and bigger changes will follow. The best resolutions come in the form of small, sustainable habits that also tend to have a larger halo effect — for example, we know that after adding a kencko smoothie to their morning routines, many kencko members report eating more fresh fruits and veggies throughout the day.

 

2. Think positive

Most people respond much better to reward than to punishment, so try to find the part of your resolution that’s about adding something positive. For example, taking away all your favorite treats can be a big bummer. But when you resolve to add more vegetables to your diet, you’re adding something positive to your life and that feels great. We’re big fans of addition by addition, not addition by subtraction over here!

 

3. Find your anchor

New, healthy habits get a massive boost when we find the right anchor in our existing daily routine to build them around. It could be as simple as putting that fruit bowl next to your coffee maker, or preparing your gym bag the night before and leaving it by the front door. Hitch your new behavior to a familiar one - having those several morning cups of coffee, or well, leaving the house -, and you’ll be well on your way to success.

 

4. Build a winning streak

Once you’ve decided on a small, positive daily goal, find a place to record your progress - like a wall planner - and track those small daily wins with a big red marker. As you build your ‘winning streak,’ you can see what you’ve accomplished - and you’ll be more motivated to continue. (You might want to add a daily reminder on your phone to make sure you don’t forget.)

 

 5. Don't sweat the slip-ups

Making a positive change isn’t about avoiding failure at all costs, it’s about learning and enjoying those incremental improvements. In fact, research shows that the people who do best at resolution-keeping are the ones who recover from early setbacks, and get back on track. So every time you fall short of reaching that small, attainable, daily goal you set (and everyone does!), try to reframe it as a chance to come back and reset. Each time you restart your habit, you’re building your capacity to change things for good. 

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