How to create and sustain 200 good and healthy habits

How to create and sustain 200 good and healthy habits

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Imagine for a moment all the small decisions you’ve taken today or over the past few days. Now, can you identify all the habits you have formed in your life? Our lives are filled with recurrent and often subconscious patterns of behavior. They are formed and reinforced by our small daily decisions, so it would be good to know how to form our habits well!

Choose a positive habit to develop

First, we have to identify a positive habit we would like to acquire. It cannot be expressed in the negative form. For example, “Quit smoking,” “Stop complaining,” and “Stop watching TV in the evenings,” are extremely hard to form. Their positive counterparts are much better: “Take 10 deep breaths and think about my family whenever I feel I need a cigarette,” “Read three positive articles every day before 10 a.m.,” “In the evenings, read a book for at least half an hour.”

If you want to fight some negative habit you already have, don’t think about simply getting rid of it; think about the positive behavior you would like to exchange it for. Human nature simply hates voids!

Your positive habit has to energize you because it will take weeks to become a pattern. For “Watch one TED video every day and think how I can put that into practice,” think about how inspired they make you. For “Do all tasks that take less than three minutes immediately,” remember the great feeling of accomplishment you will have. For “Note down whenever I lend anything out,” consider how you lost so many books already! And for “Communicate according to Non-Violent Communication,” think about how you want to really express what you mean.

Once you’ve identified the habit, let’s start.

Take your time

Have you ever wondered how long it takes to form a habit? Imagine you want to start doing something or change one behavior for the other. Some people say it’s 21 days, but if you try to find the source of that information, you will probably fail.

A great article on PsyBlog, “How Long to Form a Habit,” gives us the answer. To start drinking your daily glass of water, you will need approximately 15 days. However, if you want to start doing 50 sit-ups before breakfast, it will take you 254 days, which is nearly nine months!

The average time to form an automatic behavior is 66 days. You need to give yourself two months of daily repetition before the behavior becomes a habit. Give yourself some time and don’t give up too early! (And by the way, the study has shown that missing a single day did not reduce the chance of forming a habit!)

Form 200 habits

Now I want to challenge you to start forming just one habit, right now. Think about one positive automatic behavior you would like to acquire. It can be very simple, but you should feel energized about it. Now put a reminder on your phone timed for just after you wake up, or put a note on the phone’s main screen. Make a sticky note on your computer, ask your family for support, write it on your hand, write it on the wall, do whatever suits your personal style and will remind you that you are in the process of learning something new.

On average, after 66 days, you’ll be done. It will be fully automatic. This is the time to pick up another positive habit. This way you can form six positive habits every year. Just think for a moment: in a year from now, you will have six subconscious positive behaviors! If you continue that process over the next 30 years, you will be able to form 200 good and healthy habits, just by working on one habit at a time. Exciting, isn’t it?

Start now

I encourage you to start this right now. Sit down, relax and think about just one habit, or make a short list. Focus on just one and simply start. Not this coming weekend, not tomorrow, not even later today, start it right now. In about two months you will be ready for another new habit. If you write them down in a list as you achieve them, years from now you will be able to notice the huge positive impact some small decisions made and how many of these previously so-much-desired patterns are now fully automatic.

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Rachel Goldman, PhD FTOS is a licensed psychologist, clinical assistant professor, speaker, wellness expert specializing in weight management and eating behaviors.

Step One: Choose Wisely

How to create and sustain 200 good and healthy habits

Many people have excessive levels of stress in their lives and it often affects their health, happiness, and other areas of their lives. (In fact, it’s been estimated that more than 90% of ​health problems that bring people into the doctor’s office are stress-related!) But while virtually all of us could benefit from adding healthy habits to our lifestyle, it’s harder to begin a new habit than it seems, especially when you’re already overscheduled and overstressed! The following steps can help you navigate a clear path from your good intentions to the reality of a healthier, happier lifestyle that includes less stress. Ready? Here we go!

Step One: Choose Your Activity Wisely:
The first step in creating a healthy new habit that will be a long-term staple in your lifestyle is to choose an activity that fits well with who you are and how you live. If you don’t, you may find that you’re working against personality and lifestyle factors that are too ingrained to change, and your new healthy habit never quite takes root.

When choosing a new practice, keep in mind factors like your strengths, your schedule, and lifestyle, and the complexity of the new habit, as well as your current stress level and time available, and find an activity that fits well with all of these variables.

If you don’t know where to start, consider monitoring basic health behaviors like sleeping, eating, hydration, movement, and stress management, and see which area you need to improve upon most.

For a more in-depth look at how to choose the best activity for you, take The Stress Reliever Personality Test, which will assess which stress relievers would work best for your lifestyle and personality, and provide you with a list. You can also read more here about choosing the right habits to adopt.

Want to stay better?

Now that you know what habits are (see my blog on Habits: A Key to Sustainable Change) and how to change them (see my blog on Habits: How to Change Them), let’s discuss some key ideas on how to sustain the beneficial habits you have started for a long period of time. A habit is sustained if every time a cue or trigger of the habit occurs, the desired behavior takes place that leads to the reward.

This list is a collection of ideas on how to sustain habits from different sources. Some ideas come from Charles Duhigg’s book: The Power Of Habit (whose key concepts I captured in my two earlier blogs on habits: Habits: A Key to Sustainable Change; and Habits: How to Change Them); while some ideas come from other books and articles, such as The Power of Full Engagement by Tony Schwartz and Jim Loehr; discussions with Thom Crosby, President and CEO of Pal’s Sudden Service and other thought leaders; discussions with McClaskey Excellence Institute clients who are changing their personal leadership habits to create more extraordinary organizations; and from personal experience. While this list is a useful collection from many sources, it is not meant to be a complete list. Hopefully, you will add to this list by responding to the blog with key ideas that have help you sustain habits.

Some Key Ideas to Sustain a Habit

  1. Be relentless and persistent. In the workplace, as well as in life in general, it usually takes between 21 to 60 days of continual practice to establish a habit. It can take even longer if the cue does not happen at least multiple times per week.
  2. Develop a craving for the reward. As Duhigg writes in his book The Power of Habit, a habit is not sustainable until you have a craving for the reward that occurs as soon as you experience a cue. As reference, a craving is a desire for the reward that you start to feel as soon as the cue occurs. Once you have a craving for the reward, when you hear the cue and don’t get the reward, it causes you to be irritable or at least unsettled.
  3. Be part of a group that helps support your new habit. Studies have shown that having a support group can significantly help you both obtain the initial behavior and sustain that behavior. A support group could be just one person.
  4. Get a mentor. Mentors can play a key role in helping you to establish and sustain a habit; you don’t have to do it alone.
  5. Make the habit part of your identity. Carry out the desired behavior each and every time the cue occurs. The more consistently you carry out the behavior, the more it will become part of your identity. Thom Crosby summarizes this hint as: “Behavior your way into a new way of believing.”
  6. Have a personal feedback and correction loop. Observe if you carried out the desired behavior each and every time the cue occurs. Correct each time you detect that the cue occurred but the desired behavior did not. Usually only you are there to observe every occurrence and you need to notice if indeed the behavior occurred or did not occur.
  7. Build in a process for systematic maintenance of the habit. Thom Crosby notes that if a habit is to be sustained, it requires some systematic maintenance on your part and others. Crosby has developed the following process for sustaining beneficial habits within Pal’s Sudden Service:
    1. plan how to maintain the habit
    2. establish and carry out a recalibration cycle (this will periodically assure you are fully carrying out the behaviors every time the cue occurs)
    3. standardize the habit
    4. be on the leaders’ consistent dialogue
    5. have some way to verify
    6. when critical, have a measure

Developing the skill of being able to establish, change, and sustain the beneficial habits is a key life skill that will help you proactively achieve success in both your work and life overall. Duhigg notes that almost half of all the things we do in the course of a day are the result of habits rather than deliberate decisions. Since what we are going to accomplish at work or in life is dependent on our daily choices that can lead to behaviors we do every day, habits can play a critical role in our success or lack thereof.

At McClaskey Excellence Institute, in our Achieving World-Class Results class, we teach how Pal’s Sudden Service has established the habits in each and every one of its employees that make Pal’s operationally excellent. Operational excellence is Pal’s Sudden Service’s key to 400% greater repeat business and being highly financial success for over 50 years.

It’s not about willpower. Good habits happen when we set ourselves up for success. Our new challenge will show you how.

How to create and sustain 200 good and healthy habits

How to create and sustain 200 good and healthy habits

We’re all creatures of habit. We tend to wake up at the same time each day, brush our teeth, have morning coffee and commute to work, following the same patterns every day.

So why is it so hard to form new healthy habits?

Behavioral scientists who study habit formation say that many of us try to create healthy habits the wrong way. We make bold resolutions to start exercising or lose weight, for example, without taking the steps needed to set ourselves up for success.

Here are some tips, backed by research, for forming new healthy habits.

[Try the Healthy-Habits Well Challenge. A 28-day plan to nourish your body, mind and spirit, one daily challenge at a time. You can also get these tips delivered each day to your smart speaker with My Well Minute , our new Flash Briefing skill on Alexa. Find out how to get started here .]

Stack your habits. The best way to form a new habit is to tie it to an existing habit, experts say. Look for patterns in your day and think about how you can use existing habits to create new, positive ones.

For many of us, our morning routine is our strongest routine, so that’s a great place to stack on a new habit. A morning cup of coffee, for example, can create a great opportunity to start a new one-minute meditation practice. Or, while you are brushing your teeth, you might choose to do squats or stand on one foot to practice balance.

Many of us fall into end-of-the-day patterns as well. Do you tend to flop on the couch after work and turn on the TV? That might be a good time to do a single daily yoga pose.

Start small. B.J. Fogg, a Stanford University researcher and author of the book “Tiny Habits,” notes that big behavior changes require a high level of motivation that often can’t be sustained. He suggests starting with tiny habits to make the new habit as easy as possible in the beginning. Taking a daily short walk, for example, could be the beginning of an exercise habit. Or, putting an apple in your bag every day could lead to better eating habits.

In his own life, Dr. Fogg wanted to start a daily push-up habit. He started with just two push-ups a day and, to make the habit stick, tied his push-ups to a daily habit: going to the bathroom. He began by, after a bathroom trip, dropping and doing two push-ups. Now he has a habit of 40 to 80 push-ups a day.

Do it every day. British researchers studied how people form habits in the real world, asking participants to choose a simple habit they wanted to form, like drinking water at lunch or taking a walk before dinner. The study, published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, showed that the amount of time it took for the task to become automatic — a habit — ranged from 18 to 254 days. The median time was 66 days!

The lesson is that habits take a long time to create, but they form faster when we do them more often, so start with something reasonable that is really easy to do. You are more likely to stick with an exercise habit if you do some small exercise — jumping jacks, a yoga pose, a brisk walk — every day, rather than trying to get to the gym three days a week. Once the daily exercise becomes a habit, you can explore new, more intense forms of exercise.

How to create and sustain 200 good and healthy habits

The Healthy-Habits Challenge

A 28-day plan to nourish your body, mind and spirit, one daily challenge at a time.

Make it easy. Habit researchers know we are more likely to form new habits when we clear away the obstacles that stand in our way. Packing your gym bag and leaving it by the door is one example of this. Wendy Wood, a research psychologist at the University of Southern California, says she began sleeping in her running clothes to make it easier to roll out of bed in the morning, slip on her running shoes and run. Choosing an exercise that doesn’t require you to leave the house — like situps or jumping jacks — is another way to form an easy exercise habit.

Dr. Wood, author of the book, “Good Habits, Bad Habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes That Stick,” calls the forces that get in the way of good habits “friction.” In one study, researchers changed the timing of elevator doors so that workers had to wait nearly half a minute for the doors to close. (Normally the doors closed after 10 seconds.) It was just enough of a delay that it convinced many people that taking the stairs was easier than waiting for the elevator. “It shows how sensitive we are to small friction in our environment,” said Dr. Wood. “Just slowing down the elevator got people to take the stairs, and they stuck with it even after the elevator went back to normal timing.”

Dr. Wood notes that marketers are already experts in reducing friction, inducing us to spend more, for example, or order more food. That’s why Amazon has a “one-click” button and fast-food companies make it easy to supersize. “We’re just very influenced by how things are organized around us in ways that marketers understand and are exploiting, but people don’t exploit and understand in their own lives,” she said.

Reward yourself. Rewards are an important part of habit formation. When we brush our teeth, the reward is immediate — a minty fresh mouth. But some rewards — like weight loss or the physical changes from exercise — take longer to show up. That’s why it helps to build in some immediate rewards to help you form the habit. Listening to audiobooks while running, for example, or watching a favorite cooking show on the treadmill can help reinforce an exercise habit. Or plan an exercise date so the reward is time with a friend.

Take the Healthy-Habits Well Challenge: Now that you know what it takes to start building healthy habits, try the new Well Challenge, which gives you a small tip every day to help you move more, connect with those you love, refresh your mind and nourish your body. Just sign up, and I’ll send you a daily email about your next challenge. You can also get these tips and more delivered each day to your smart speaker with My Well Minute , our new Flash Briefing skill on Alexa. Find out how to get started here .

How to create and sustain 200 good and healthy habits

The fastest way to achieve your dreams is to commit to them. Once you are committed to something, nothing else will stand in your way. unless you have bad habits. Yet, if the commitment is strong enough, you will break those habits.

Nothing drives performance like good habits. We all know that high performers have great habits. But how do we develop and keep them?

Your habits are yours. Your inner peace and joy often come from the habits you have.

You control your habits. Success and joy come from focusing on what you can control. Whenever you focus on situations or people outside of your control, you lose even more control, you enter a state of deception and despair.

Good habits create a positive mindset. When you focus on behaviors that you can control, you can develop plans and take action. The hope of being able to solve a problem is often enough to change your mood which in turn changes the outcome.

Developing and keeping good habits is about the process over the result.

Yes, of course, we want results. In the end, results do matter. Yet, to get the best results, don’t focus on the end goal, only focus on what it takes for you to get there and master those steps.

Here are six processes that when implemented, will ensure good habits:

1. Develop clarity.

The Oprah-approved high-performance trainer Brendon Burchard teaches that:

“You have to know who you are, what you value, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and where you want to go. This kind of knowledge makes you feel better about yourself and about life.”

In other words, know and decide what you want. Get clear on who you are and what you want to become by writing it down.

When you have clear intentions and focused purpose, your “why” becomes your main motivator. No action or sacrifice is too much for that goal.

Review your purpose weekly. Review your actions daily.

2. Start small.

Aristotle once wrote, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”

He was right. Doing something over and over makes it easy. If you want to sell better, start by creating conversations. Don’t focus on the sale itself–focus on the habit of picking up the phone and talking to people.

Every big habit is supported by many smaller habits. Find the small habit and develop that first. It’s easy to do many little things over and over again.

3. Focus on routine.

Eventually, you’ll be able to do those things on autopilot. Make your desired habit part of your daily routine. Write it down. Check it off your list.

If you want better clients, find out what you need to do to get them and then create habits that revolve around those specific actions. Calendar it into your daily schedule.

Any goal is possible. Just commit to it and pencil it in. As best-selling author Charles Duhigg says: “The key to victory is creating the right routines.”

4. Reward desired behavior.

Bad habits get rewarded, if they didn’t, you wouldn’t have them.

Harvey Mackey, the best selling leadership and sales author teaches: “Good habits are as addictive as bad habits, and a lot more rewarding.” That, of course, is easier said than done–but you can do it.

Don’t change the reward–just change how it’s applied. Find rewards that have meaning to you and then use them to connect good behavior to desired outcomes.

5. Journal your progress.

Celebrate wins. Contemplate mistakes. Create plans to magnify the win column and strategies to minimize the mistakes.

As the late Jim Rohn once said, “A life worth living is a life worth recording.”

Without proper reflection, the habits do not have any meaning. By applying your own personal meaning, you can accelerate your progress.

6. Find your super-supporter.

You need to spend time around the people who will help you keep your habits. Don’t take it from me–take it from Oprah Winfrey, who once said, “Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.”

Find the most positive person you know and ask them to hold you accountable.

They will make sure you are on track and do it in a positive way. This type of supporter is needed to help you know that you are staying consistent with your values and that your actions align with your “why.”

Habits help you do things consistently, without thinking about the entire process all the time. Habits can make or break you. The good thing is, habits can be changed.

The choices you make today, form your habits of tomorrow. If you believe in your ability to adjust and change, you can develop habits that will enable you to maximize your potential.

How to create and sustain 200 good and healthy habits

The fastest way to achieve your dreams is to commit to them. Once you are committed to something, nothing else will stand in your way. unless you have bad habits. Yet, if the commitment is strong enough, you will break those habits.

Nothing drives performance like good habits. We all know that high performers have great habits. But how do we develop and keep them?

Your habits are yours. Your inner peace and joy often come from the habits you have.

You control your habits. Success and joy come from focusing on what you can control. Whenever you focus on situations or people outside of your control, you lose even more control, you enter a state of deception and despair.

Good habits create a positive mindset. When you focus on behaviors that you can control, you can develop plans and take action. The hope of being able to solve a problem is often enough to change your mood which in turn changes the outcome.

Developing and keeping good habits is about the process over the result.

Yes, of course, we want results. In the end, results do matter. Yet, to get the best results, don’t focus on the end goal, only focus on what it takes for you to get there and master those steps.

Here are six processes that when implemented, will ensure good habits:

1. Develop clarity.

The Oprah-approved high-performance trainer Brendon Burchard teaches that:

“You have to know who you are, what you value, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and where you want to go. This kind of knowledge makes you feel better about yourself and about life.”

In other words, know and decide what you want. Get clear on who you are and what you want to become by writing it down.

When you have clear intentions and focused purpose, your “why” becomes your main motivator. No action or sacrifice is too much for that goal.

Review your purpose weekly. Review your actions daily.

2. Start small.

Aristotle once wrote, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”

He was right. Doing something over and over makes it easy. If you want to sell better, start by creating conversations. Don’t focus on the sale itself–focus on the habit of picking up the phone and talking to people.

Every big habit is supported by many smaller habits. Find the small habit and develop that first. It’s easy to do many little things over and over again.

3. Focus on routine.

Eventually, you’ll be able to do those things on autopilot. Make your desired habit part of your daily routine. Write it down. Check it off your list.

If you want better clients, find out what you need to do to get them and then create habits that revolve around those specific actions. Calendar it into your daily schedule.

Any goal is possible. Just commit to it and pencil it in. As best-selling author Charles Duhigg says: “The key to victory is creating the right routines.”

4. Reward desired behavior.

Bad habits get rewarded, if they didn’t, you wouldn’t have them.

Harvey Mackey, the best selling leadership and sales author teaches: “Good habits are as addictive as bad habits, and a lot more rewarding.” That, of course, is easier said than done–but you can do it.

Don’t change the reward–just change how it’s applied. Find rewards that have meaning to you and then use them to connect good behavior to desired outcomes.

5. Journal your progress.

Celebrate wins. Contemplate mistakes. Create plans to magnify the win column and strategies to minimize the mistakes.

As the late Jim Rohn once said, “A life worth living is a life worth recording.”

Without proper reflection, the habits do not have any meaning. By applying your own personal meaning, you can accelerate your progress.

6. Find your super-supporter.

You need to spend time around the people who will help you keep your habits. Don’t take it from me–take it from Oprah Winfrey, who once said, “Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.”

Find the most positive person you know and ask them to hold you accountable.

They will make sure you are on track and do it in a positive way. This type of supporter is needed to help you know that you are staying consistent with your values and that your actions align with your “why.”

Habits help you do things consistently, without thinking about the entire process all the time. Habits can make or break you. The good thing is, habits can be changed.

The choices you make today, form your habits of tomorrow. If you believe in your ability to adjust and change, you can develop habits that will enable you to maximize your potential.

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Rachel Goldman, PhD FTOS is a licensed psychologist, clinical assistant professor, speaker, wellness expert specializing in weight management and eating behaviors.

Step One: Choose Wisely

How to create and sustain 200 good and healthy habits

Many people have excessive levels of stress in their lives and it often affects their health, happiness, and other areas of their lives. (In fact, it’s been estimated that more than 90% of ​health problems that bring people into the doctor’s office are stress-related!) But while virtually all of us could benefit from adding healthy habits to our lifestyle, it’s harder to begin a new habit than it seems, especially when you’re already overscheduled and overstressed! The following steps can help you navigate a clear path from your good intentions to the reality of a healthier, happier lifestyle that includes less stress. Ready? Here we go!

Step One: Choose Your Activity Wisely:
The first step in creating a healthy new habit that will be a long-term staple in your lifestyle is to choose an activity that fits well with who you are and how you live. If you don’t, you may find that you’re working against personality and lifestyle factors that are too ingrained to change, and your new healthy habit never quite takes root.

When choosing a new practice, keep in mind factors like your strengths, your schedule, and lifestyle, and the complexity of the new habit, as well as your current stress level and time available, and find an activity that fits well with all of these variables.

If you don’t know where to start, consider monitoring basic health behaviors like sleeping, eating, hydration, movement, and stress management, and see which area you need to improve upon most.

For a more in-depth look at how to choose the best activity for you, take The Stress Reliever Personality Test, which will assess which stress relievers would work best for your lifestyle and personality, and provide you with a list. You can also read more here about choosing the right habits to adopt.

Need help establishing healthy habits this year? Find out how to make healthy habits stick so you can achieve the lifestyle change you’re after.

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Disclaimer: Just so you know, if you order an item through one of our posts, we may get a small share of the sale.

Treating your body as well as you possibly can takes dedication, perseverance, and (you guessed it!) a whole bunch of healthy habits. This isn’t something you can establish overnight unless you have an iron will. For the rest of us, implementing healthy habits and sticking to them is an ongoing process.

How to Form Healthy Habits

Creating healthy changes in your life means that little decisions and actions need to become ingrained in your routine. You’ve heard of the term lifestyle change, right? Crafting a routine filled with healthy habits is the exact same thing. Having healthy habits changes how you think so eventually, instead of telling yourself to eat veggies with every meal, you just do it! No decision necessary.

We like to make little changes, one by one, that grow together to represent holistic change. This theory of change makes a lifestyle overhaul easier since it affords you stepping stones between your starting point and your health goals.

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5 Plant-Based Proteins And How To Include Them In Your Diet

If the healthy habit you want to establish is to work out everyday and you aren’t used to doing so, you may push yourself too hard and abandon ship if the habit seems too exhausting to maintain long term. But working in a few push ups a day as opposed to a full-on workout is much easier. See what we mean? Focus on stacking up bite-sized healthy habits in order to build up and enjoy the benefits of overall lifestyle changes.

Habit Formation

To form a habit, the activity you’re trying to incorporate into your life needs to become second nature. To get there, we suggest following the three Rs of habit formation. This strategy was recently popularized by James Clear but has been popping up (more or less eloquently) since at least 2010 . The three Rs are:

1. Reminder

When deciding on the habit you want to establish, it’s helpful to put it in context. If you’re aiming to eat a piece of fresh fruit every day, you’re more likely to follow through if you tie the activity to a consistent cue from your day-to-day life. For example, eat a piece of fruit every day with lunch.

When you’re packing your lunch, you’ll automatically put a piece of fruit in, and you can adjust your portions to make sure the fruit—rather than an extra handful of chips or a cookie—gets eaten every day.

2. Routine

This means consistently engaging in the activity you want to become a habit. You can pack an apple in your lunch all you want, but if you don’t eat it you haven’t made it part of your routine.

3. Reward

Practicing self-affirmation —that is, praising yourself for a job well done or identifying how your habits align with your core values—after engaging in your healthy habit can help you stick to it. It may also be the most gratifying part of incorporating your habit into your day-to-day life.

You may have heard (or read somewhere on the internet) that it takes 30 days to form a good habit. This would be great, really, but studies show that it takes closer to 10 weeks or two and a half months for an action to become a genuinely habitual part of your routine.

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To keep you on track with your healthy changes for the full 10 weeks, accountability is key! This can achieved in a variety of ways—from checking in with friends or on social media to starting a fitness journal. And don’t worry too much if you veer away from your new habit momentarily. Studies found that getting off track (thanks to a weekend-long Netflix binge, a vacation, whatever) did not seriously impact habit formation so long as you jump right back in. Don’t beat yourself up about a setback, just keep on trucking and you’ll eventually be golden.

Healthy Habits You Can Aim for This Year

Although everyone is in a different spot when it comes to their wellness and lifestyle goals, we can all make positive changes. Even if they are little, these changes can have a positive impact on your health. Here are our top ideas for healthy habits to implement this year

  • Focus on a healthy, well-rounded diet. You can start with an apple a day and work your way up to cleaner, more conscientious eating.
  • For the couch potatoes among us: Incorporate regular workouts. Start with making your day more active and work your way into to a full-blown fitness routine.
  • Get enough sleep (because lack of sleep is all-around bad for you).
  • Drink enough water.
  • Start a meditation practice.
  • Get enough quality social time in to prevent loneliness .

Apps to Get You There

Healthy changes need to become healthy habits in order to have the long-lasting wellness impacts you’re after. But until a healthy activity has become an automatic part of your day, one of the most helpful ways of keeping on track and moving toward habit formation is with proactive reminders and intentional scheduling.

We highly recommend setting reminders on your phone or calendar (for example, “6:30: 7-minute Meditation”). This works for everything from setting a healthy bedtime to a reminding yourself to eat your salad at lunch. If you’re using online meditation or fitness resources, copy–paste the URL into your calendar description so you can access the resource easily when your calendar reminder pops up!

Those of us with somewhat sedentary lifestyles and office jobs can also use fitness trackers like the Fitbit that will remind us to get up and move our bodies every hour.

Whatever your healthy change may be, we know that taking the time to make it a habit will make your life so much easier. When healthy choices become second nature, your well-being can only benefit.

Children learn from the influences around them. Part of growing up is creating the habits that will follow your children throughout their lifetimes and shape them as they mature. Instilling a healthy lifestyle in your children when they are young can help build the framework for an entire lifetime of healthy habits.

Here are 11 ways lead your children toward a healthy lifestyle:

1. Eat at least one meal a day as a family

Eating at least one meal a day as a family ensures that your child is making healthy choices during that time of the day. This also gives you the opportunity to lead by example and use the opportunity to teach your children about food choices and healthy portion sizes. By modeling healthy cooking habits in the home, you are helping transfer your choices into your child’s lifelong habits.

2. Get your children outside and involved

This is another area where you can create these healthy lifestyle habits as a family. Play games in the yard, go on hikes, and just get outside. Playing ball with your kids or involving them in sports not only helps instill a healthy lifestyle, but it also helps them develop coordination and important social skills they can’t learn by sitting in front of a television. Teaching your children the joys of sports early can help them find their talents and teach them to appreciate exercise as a form of fun, not something to be abhorred.

3. Turn off the technology

With technology at every turn, it’s hard to pull your family away from the tube, the computer screen, the phones, the video games, the iPads, and all of the other gadgets that are such a part of everyday life. But getting your children out of their seats and aware of the world around them helps them become more self-aware in mind and body. Communicating in-person with other children and adults establishes social skills that can’t be learned online and are essential for a successful future.

4. Stack on the support

Talking positively, encouraging your children, and rewarding them with good behavior helps reinforce good behavior and healthy habits. When your children choose to be active, learn about a topic, choose a healthy snack or get involved with others, positively reinforce these actions by supporting your child and making sure that their good choices are noticed and applauded. This helps build your child’s self-confidence and can help create a strong future leader.

5. Ask them to participate

Teach your children healthy lifestyle habits by having them help create them in your own home. Let them help grocery shop for healthy lunches, send thank-you notes and holiday cards to friends and family, keep up the house, and make decisions. Teaching your children to make the right choices for the family can help them understand everything that goes into creating a positive atmosphere.

6. Focus on extracurricular activities

Extracurricular activities give your children a chance to make new friends, explore new skills and talents, and increase their self-confidence. A healthy lifestyle includes socializing, enhancing skills, learning new talents, and achieving goals. Extracurricular activities allow your child to explore these areas of healthy living in a safe and nurturing environment with children of their own age. They can also develop lasting friendships and learn from other children.

7. Teach them responsibility

Giving your child responsibilities is an important building block for future success. Giving your child responsibilities early teaches them ownership and how to complete tasks required of them, as well as consequences. Giving your child the responsibility of planning their snacks or lunches, or planning breakfast for the family gives them the opportunity to take ownership, and also allows you the opportunity to correct their choices along the way.

8. Never use food as a reward

With the fattening of America, it’s incredibly important these days to watch how your children are relating to food. Without the built-in exercise of yesteryear and technology creating a sedentary lifestyle as the norm, making sure that you are instilling a healthy relationship with food starts with making good choices in the way you present it to your children. Using food as a reward is one way to create food motivation, which can be detrimental if your child grows up seeing food as a special reward and was not taught how to limit this reward.

9. Lead by example

One of the best ways to instill a healthy lifestyle in your children is to lead one yourself. Children are constantly picking up on our habits and behaviors, and parents are seen as role models whose habits should be taken after. Make sure that you are active, healthy, and also explore activities, socializing, and other interests outside of work.

10. Expose them to good influences

The more positive your child’s environment, the more positive your child’s outlook will tend to be. Exposing your child to a positive environment with positive role models, healthy food options, outside activities and intriguing mental challenges can help them become more positive individuals, which in turn will help them make choices that perpetuate a healthy outlook and a healthy lifestyle.

11. Make sure their school offers daily, quality Physical Education

Quality physical education programs are needed to increase the physical competence, health-related fitness, self-responsibility and enjoyment of physical activity for all students so that they can be physically active for a lifetime. Physical education programs can only provide these benefits if they are consistent,well-planned, and well-implemented.