It takes 21 days to make a habit, or so the saying goes. While there's no hard-and-fast rule on how long it takes for a habit to form, research shows it may take considerably longer. Instead of counting the number of days required for proper habit creation, focus on making small changes that aren't too drastic, so they will be more likely to be permanent changes.
Be reasonable. Taking an all-or-nothing approach could cause you to crash and burn. Don't attempt an entire life overhaul all at once. Make incremental changes that will be easy to adopt and stick with for the long haul. Taking small steps toward your goal will likely get you there faster.
Instead of suddenly going vegetarian, start by going without meat for one day a week and build from there. Do you want to eliminate your daily breakfast drive-through? Plan easy and healthy breakfast ideas to cook at home and prepare as many steps as possible in advance – that way the hard part is already taken care of.
9 Tips to Form Habits That Stick:
- Choose a realistic goal and write it down
- Keep it simple so you can remember it — you should be able to recite it from memory
- Make it visible and keep it somewhere where you can see it throughout the day
- Keep it positive — avoid bogging yourself down with negative talk
- Repeat the behavior daily and stick with it — consistency is key
- Stay focused and don't get discouraged (here's where small, manageable changes work better)
- Be proactive and prepare things in advance whenever possible to jumpstart the process
- Identify any unhealthy habits you may have and take steps to replace them with new ones
- Get support from other members of the LIVESTRONG.COM community, friends or family
Here's to healthy habits that last!
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Why the MyPlate Calorie Tracker Helps You Lose Weight
Documenting your food and activity might seem like overkill, but it’s not. People who track their calories and physical activities enjoy greater success losing weight and keeping it off for good!
Tracking everything honestly is essential to making the 30-Day Slim Down Challenge work for you. Sometimes you’re not even aware of everything you consume, but once you start tracking it you’ll think twice before you make poor choices. And that’s a good thing.
- Daily meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and snacks
- Exercise and activity
- BMI (Body Mass Index)
Read These Articles on Health Habits:
Readers — Are you joining us in the 30-Day Slim Down Challenge? If so, what is your weight-loss goal? Have you ever done a weight loss fitness challenge group before? How did it go for you? Have you joined our LIVESTRONG.COM 30-Day Slim Down Group on Facebook? Leave a comment below and let us know.