March 31, 2022

How to Maintain Healthy Habits

SMALL (changes,) but MIGHTY (results.) 

“I should have started earlier,” is a phrase that most of us have uttered before, especially when starting something new or something that we’ve been putting off. From my years as a personal trainer and working in the health and fitness industry, I hear this all the time. And yes, if we all started earlier, we would be at different places in our lives.  But guess what?! The best time to start maintaining healthy habits is anytime. Even right NOW!  (Well not right this second, but maybe after you finish reading this.) 

As a personal trainer, people come to me to guide them on this journey  of making new, healthier lifestyle changes. Is it easy? For some  people, yes. For others, it’s more difficult to get the ball rolling. But  that’s okay. Lifestyle changes are not a one size fits all thing. They simply need to start SOMEWHERE. And if you are trying to start that journey, here are three important concepts to keep in mind when starting on your journey to maintaining healthy habits.

How to Maintain Healthy Habits

  1. SUSTAINABILITY 

The number one reason people have a hard time sticking to new healthy habits is because short-term solutions sound sexier and easier than long-term lifestyle changes. There are so many detox teas, juice cleanses, and ridiculous workout equipment being thrown at us for quick and easy results that are simply unrealistic. It’s not surprising that we have a hard time accepting that change does take time. 

The other thing people often do in those moments of high motivation is pile on all these new changes only to get burnt out and discouraged from goals that may be too much to swallow at once. Instead, starting with one small goal at a time can be the key to success. The more the merrier does not apply here.

*Not a big water drinker? Start by adding an extra cup a day, and increase it each week. Think of a time in your day where you can refill your water bottle just one more time. Try a glass first thing when you wake up or before bed. 

*Stuck on soda? Swap a can out for flavored sparkling water instead. We live in a time where soda water comes in pretty much every flavor imaginable, so you’re bound to find a new favorite if you explore. 

*Sedentary? Take the stairs when you can. Park your car further away from the store/your house so you have to walk those extra steps. Pretend you have a dog that needs to be walked, and go take yourself on a 5-10 min walk daily. 

*Want to start in the gym? Consider first starting with at-home bodyweight exercises. Then try going to the gym 2x a week for 30 minutes – rather than starting at 5x a week for an hour. 

Again, DON’T DO ALL THESE THINGS AT ONCE! Start with one small thing. 

It’s not about how many big changes you can make in a short amount of time. It’s about how many small tweaks you incorporate that can last you a lifetime. 

  1. CONSISTENCY 

Stay the course. Don’t get discouraged. Keep your focus on sticking to that one change until it has become one with your daily regimen. I know they say “practice makes perfect,” but we don’t need perfection. W 

TIP: Track your progress on your goals for an often much needed reality check.

If your goal is to drink one more glass of water daily, at the end of each day, use an app or a journal to log if that did in fact happen. Next, at the end of the week, check yourself. How many days out of seven did you actually accomplish this one new little habit? Try this for a month! The outcome may be surprising. You might realize that a tiny change does actually take a lot of extra will power, or you may be ready to maintain that habit because it was so easy. 

For some of us, admitting that even a small goal is harder than we expected can be hard. But again, this is not a one-size-fits-all process. Your journey is yours and no one else’s. 

Stay true to yourself and stop making excuses as to why you can’t do that one change today. STAY CONSISTENT. Even on those days when you’re busy or tired. Don’t add any other change into the equation until you feel comfortable with that first one, and you’ll pave yourself a path to success. 

  1. PATIENCE 

Patience, grasshopper. Good things take time just like a home cooked meal. Yes, ordering in is quicker and easier, but taking the time and effort to create something of your own makes you appreciate it that much more. 

And when you finally see even some changes, keep going in your healthy habits! When you see no results and want to quit, keep going. Once you start knocking out your goals, you’ll realize that dedication and patience are the keys to success!

With all that being said, don’t be so hard on yourself. Every small step you take towards bettering yourself is something to be proud of. Keep your head high and your goals even higher, because the sky’s the limit! 

Remember, health is wealth.

Written by Diana Gondek, ACE Certified Personal Trainer ASFA – Sports Nutritionist, NASM