As a Health Coach, sometimes I'm a little surprised that most of the clients who come to me already know a ton about eating well and how to live a healthy lifestyle. They've read all the books, recorded Oprah and Dr. Oz segments, and even have pantries packed full of superfoods. When we dive into the reason they contacted me, it's often that they just need help making their healthy habits stick. Which is a good thing, because this is one of my favorite topics to teach. Here are my six key strategies to making healthy habits stick.
1. Crowd out the bad stuff.
Crowd out unhealthy foods with delicious good food. Instead of imposing strict rules on yourself, always focus on what you can have, not on what you can’t have. If you've really been struggling to stick to your healthy habits, learning how to crowd out is the first step on your path to success.
2. Forget the “all or nothing” mentality.
Good health isn’t all or nothing; every salad, green juice and green smoothie count. Women are the worst with this and often feel like they have to give up every single thing they enjoy to be healthy, which couldn't be further from the truth. Take small steps toward greater health each day, and eventually things like green drinks, quinoa salads and fresh juices will become habits instead of chores.
3. Surround yourself with inspiration.
Hang out with like-minded people and join community and online groups that support your lifestyle. Subscribe to email updates from wellness websites that inspire you (just pick your top 3-5 favorites so you don’t overwhelm yourself; a full inbox = stress!), purchase healthy living books and magazines, and create a inspiration board so you can create what your ideal life looks like.
4. Be a realistic optimist.
Positive thinking really is key to a healthy lifestyle, there's no doubt about it. But remember this: total wellness doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something we just need to focus on once. Healthy habits are like muscles; the more you work them the stronger they get.
5. Focus on how you want to feel in your own skin.
Having a clear vision of how you want to feel each day will motivate you through challenging times. When you want to eat something unhealthy, take a moment to ask yourself how it will make you feel in one hour, one day and one week. That drive-thru burrito might make you feel good for the three minutes that you're scarfing it down, but be honest, you're not going to feel great a few hours later or the next day when you remember it. Is the three minutes really worth it?
6. Know that you are exactly where you need to be.
Be totally ok with wherever you are at in this point in your life — it’s all part of your unique journey. Be gentle and kind with yourself. If you’ve been doing an amazing job of eating clean and have a moment of weakness, just forgive yourself and move on without making yourself feel guilty. One unhealthy snack, meal, or even weekend shouldn’t derail you; just get back to your clean eating plan and focus on what makes you feel good. Life’s too short to constantly worry about what you eat; be proud of the healthy choices that you make and focus on those instead. We become what we focus on; focus on your healthy choices and overtime you'll become a glowing goddess of good health.