5 Simple Steps to Create Sustainable Habits

In my blog post, Simplify the Complex Chaos of Health and Wellness Information, I explained 3 simple guiding principles for healthy living:

  1. Eat better

  2. Move more

  3. Have self-care

As simple and basic as these are, I understand the struggle to implement them in life. You’ll probably agree good health and wellness doesn’t just happen. It requires some serious intention. You may be struggling with how to create that intention. Or you have tried so many good things- 21 day food challenges, 30 day workout programs, read a bunch of books, joined different fitness studios, hired a trainer - but they haven’t been sustainable and you still haven’t reached the goals you want. And that can be frustrating. It may even seem impossible to have the health you want, feel good about yourself, not crave sweets, or get up and workout when you would rather sleep.

In my own struggle to live a healthy life, especially with eating, and in trying to create sustainable habits for myself, I noticed a system emerging in my process. Then, as I began working with others to create sustainable habits to meet their health goals, I started to develop a simple way to overcome the struggle and be successful. It is freeing when you feel you are really in charge of your health, instead of allowing your poor health to control you.

So, let’s dive into the simple system I call Warrior Approach to create sustainable wellness habits. I have divided it into 5 parts which only take a few minutes of work each. But each of the 5 parts are necessary for success.

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Here are 5 simple steps to Create Sustainable Habits:

  1. Pick a habit.

  2. Define your why.

  3. Identify potential challenges.

  4. Create a plan.

  5. Get started.

Now, let’s dive a little deeper into each of these.

1. Pick a habit.

We meet our goals by developing solid supporting habits. Rather than focusing on the large goal, look for the smaller habits required to reach your goal. The number of habits you need to establish may seem overwhelming at first and trying to implement all of them at once doesn’t typically lead to the creation of sustainable change or success. So, it is best to pick 1 or 2 habits to focus on for 2-4 weeks until that habit becomes normal for you. If you wonder which habit to focus on first, start with the one that feels most challenging to you. Attack it. Overcome it. Feel great!

2. Define your why.

This is crucial. Be very clear on the why behind your goals. Chances are, it will be deeply personal. Your why is your reason for the goal you have. Your why is the foundation, the driver, behind your goal. Remembering it will help you stick to your plan when it gets hard. Imagine how you will feel, what will be able to do, the end result, when you have the wellness control you want. No more regret or wishing things were different. You will get to look back and be so grateful you took the time to invest in your health.

3. Identify potential challenges.

Looking ahead, what potential challenges do you foresee over the next 2-4 weeks that may keep you from developing your habit or derail your progress? Maybe it is upcoming travel, family in town, social events, kids’ activities, crazy work day, deadline due, etc. Identifying these challenges makes them less of an obstacle and will help you create the most successful plan. Empowerment can really grow when you no longer let a challenge, be a challenge.

4. Create a plan.

One main reason many people struggle to create sustainable habits is because they don’t plan or prepare to make changes. When creating your plan consider these questions: Do I need to block out time in my schedule for working out, preparing meals, and/or self-care? What will I eat this week? What do I need to prepare ahead to save time in the morning so I can get to the gym?  Do I need an accountability system? My Accountability Calendar is a great tool. Alternatively, you could recruit a friend or hire a coach. A plan won’t guarantee success but you can’t be successful without one.

5. Get started.

Now, it is time to take action confidently. Pick a date to get started. Before you realize it, 4 weeks will have passed and you will be feeling good about what you have done. No more just thinking about your goals. You will be achieving them. Of course, it won't go perfectly according to plan all the time, but one slip up doesn’t mean you can’t still be successful. Don’t give up, just jump back on the plan the next day or even hour.

Going through these 5 simple steps will take just a few minutes at the beginning of each week. Literally a few minutes. When you change your focus to a new habit at the beginning of each 4 weeks, it will take a little longer to get your thoughts down and create a game plan. But, you will be more confident about what you can accomplish with a solid plan. Soon, using this Warrior Approach to get organized for the week will become a natural habit in itself as you begin to see progress toward your goal.

What goal are you going to work on first? How will you break that goal up into habits? What challenges do you foresee in the week ahead? If you comment, I’ll give you suggestions for tackling your potential challenges! Maybe you’ll find your accountability partner by sharing this post with anyone you know who might want to start making healthy habits happen alongside you.

Don’t miss my next post about my 4 non-negotiables for becoming the future you that you want to see!

Overcome like a Warrior!

Jen