Motivation is fickle and fleeting. You might have the best of intentions when you schedule an early morning jog, promising yourself that tomorrow is the day everything changes.
Then your morning alarm goes off. Your bed is warm, you’re still tired, and the excitement you had for creating health is nowhere to be found. Instead, you convince yourself that you can put off exercising for one more day, and you go back to sleep.
If this story sounds familiar, don’t worry! You’re not alone.
One of the keys to creating change and building new Habits of Health is to make it as easy as possible for yourself. Your journey to optimal wellbeing will never be completely free of obstacles and challenges, but we can make it much less difficult with the right strategy.
So, here are three steps to make it far easier to build a new Habit of Health.
Step 1: Use a micro Habit of Health (mHoH)
A micro Habit of Health is the version of a habit that is so small that failure is nearly impossible. If your goal is to exercise more, do one push up a day. If your goal is to read more, read one page per day. If your goal is more steps in your day, take the stairs once instead of the elevator.
Think of the process this way: Which is easier to plant in your yard, a sapling or a full-grown tree? The sapling of course, because a full-grown tree is immensely heavy and difficult to maneuver. It’s possible, but it takes far more effort. With the sapling, you can put the tree in the exact right place and focus on nurturing its growth. Once the roots take hold, keeping the tree growing is far more manageable and practical.
Your Habits of Health are like this. If you want the impressive oak tree, plant an acorn first and give it time.
Step 2: Remove the obstacles in your path
In the early stages of building a habit, every obstacle between you and your desired habit has the potential to derail your journey. Look for those obstacles ahead of time – or pay attention to what disrupts you as you make your attempt – and clear them away.
For example, does the drive to the gym make exercising less appealing? Do a home workout in your pajamas, even if it’s only for a few minutes to start.
Do you find cooking healthy meals intimidating? Use healthy meal replacements for something quick, easy, and still healthy.
Do you feel tired in the evening but can’t fall asleep when you get to bed? Do your evening routine in advance, so when you feel tired, you can go straight to bed with no interruptions.
Step 3: Lean on behavioral support
The research is overwhelming: People are more likely to reach their goals when they have a support system. You need someone in your life who is encouraging and who can help you talk through the challenges you are facing. Going it alone is possible, but it’s also hard.
Your support could be a best friend who joins you for workouts, or maybe it’s a mentor who helps you to see things differently. Better yet, you could work with a health coach whose life mission is to help you reach your health goals.
If you don’t have someone like this in your life, a health coach is easier to get than you think, and we have a community full of people who would love to cheer you on.
Once you get your sapling to take root, the momentum of what you have accomplished will help carry you into your next Habit of Health while your fresh Habit of Health grows and matures. None of this is instantaneous, and it’s never completely effortless, but it doesn’t have to be frustratingly difficult.
I can’t wait to read your success stories!