How To Make Healthy Habits Stick

By Barbara Brathwaite, RN, MSN

The most important thing to remember in trying to maintain healthy habits is that you must allow your health and well being to come before anything else. All the other things will follow.

  • Assess your readiness— Motivation must come from within with a heartfelt desire to change.
  • Plan realistic SMALL changes— Major changes can seem overwhelming. Instead, start small.
  • Believe in yourself —confidence in your ability to change is essential.
  • Track behavior— monitor your behaviors – studies show people who use a food diary are more effective in making changes.
  • Sleep— adequate sleep is so important in trying to make changes. Lack of sleep can lead to poor decisions and irritability, which can affect your attempts to change. Remember: anxiety and irritability can contribute to emotional eating.
  • Manage stress— stressful situations can detour the best of healthy intentions. To be successful we need to find ways to cope, we need to set aside time to relax, and we need to let go or delegate some responsibilities.
  • Surround yourself with support— family and friends and support group participants encourage and reinforce positive changes.
  • Bounce back— Old habits can be ingrained and occasional lapses will occur. We are not perfect. It’s important to get back on track with another small step forward and carry on.
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