Can you give us some tips for the best ways to make healthy habits stick?
Certainly. Here are three tips you’ll find useful for sticking with any good habit.
The first rule is to start small—when you begin a new habit it should only take a few minutes. Remember that behaviors become progressively more automatic through repetition—in other words, the amount of time you spend doing something is not as important as the number of times you repeat it. Habits that begin with just a few minutes a day can eventually impact your behavior for hours, weeks, months, and years afterward. Your initial objective is to first build the habit of simply “showing up” and then expand from there.
Second, keep in mind that our brains are wired to repeat behaviors that feel satisfying—the more immediate the reward is, the more motivated you will be to continue doing it. So, if you want a habit to stick, make it a point to reward yourself and celebrate small wins along the way, regardless of how insignificant they may seem at the time. Over time, those small wins will be the compound interest of your self-improvement.
Third, surround yourself with people who already practice the habits you want to build. It shouldn’t be a surprise that other people play a key role in your behavior choices. You will be the average of the people you hang around the most. If you want to get into better physical shape, spend your time with people who have the habits of regularly exercising and eating healthy diets. If you want to increase your knowledge, begin attending book discussion groups with avid readers. With social support and accountability, your success at sticking with good habits will be greatly increased.