kencko | Five strategies to make healthy habits stick

Five strategies to make healthy habits stick

Thinking of making some New Year’s resolutions? We’ve got some common sense advice to help you build healthy habits that last all year long.

 

Did you begin 2019 by deciding to change everything about your lifestyle? Did you resolve to live healthier, only to start sliding back into the old routine in a matter of weeks? If so, you’re not alone: according to one survey, by Feb. 1st, 80% of New Year’s resolutions have already failed. In fact, if you make it halfway through January without losing momentum, you’ll be doing better than nearly half of all resolution-makers.

 

So, how can you make sure things are different in 2020? We asked the kencko team to share their hard-earned wisdom about making new, healthy habits that really stick. (Check back with us in February to see if we took our own advice ;-)

 

 

 

 

1. Start small “Aim high, but break it down in small daily wins. When I started jogging, I aimed for 500 miles in a year. It’s overwhelming if you think of it that way, but if you break it down it’s less than 1.4 miles a day, which most of us can do in under 15 minutes. Plus if you slip one or two days, you know exactly what you need to do to still hit your goal for the week.”

Tomás Froes, co-founder

 

Research shows that the resolutions people actually keep tend to be tangible, achievable goals rather than sky’s-the-limit, ‘change everything’ wishes. ‘Eat more fruit and vegetables’ might sound like a great New Year’s resolution, but it’s really just restating the problem. If that’s your goal, then a good way to start might be, “Make fruit part of every breakfast”. Focus on that, and trust that bigger changes will follow.

 

 

 

 

2. Make it positive “When it comes to building healthier eating habits, most people respond much better to addition than subtraction. Taking away your favorite treats feels like punishment. But when you resolve to add more vegetables to your diet, you’re doing something positive for your health and that feels great.”

Mallory Gonzales, head of nutrition

 

Negative resolutions are almost impossible to maintain, because putting certain foods or behaviors off limits just creates cravings. The more you try to restrict something, the more you keep it at the forefront of your mind. Training your attention on the positive behavior you want to encourage is a far better use of your energy.

 

 

 

 

3. Build a winning streak “Get a wall planner or a calendar and a big red marker, so that you can cross off each day as you go. Seeing that line of crosses growing as your new habit takes root is super motivating.”

Christina Capela, head of customer relations

 

Once you’ve decided on a small, positive, actionable daily goal, find a place to record your progress. Having goals that can be crossed off a list makes you significantly more likely to actually live the change. As you build your ‘winning streak’, you can see what you’ve accomplished – and you’ll be more motivated to continue.

 

 

 

 

4. Find your ‘action triggers’. “Find the cue that triggers the habit. For example, if I prepare my gym bag the night before and leave it by the front door, I’m at least four times as likely to actually go to the gym in the morning.”

Rita Rodrigues, operations associate

 

It turns out that self-control is a finite resource: we can easily run out of willpower, long before we get to the gym! New, healthy habits get a massive boost when we find the right trigger in our existing daily routine. It could be as simple as putting a fruit bowl in the place where you usually reach for a cookie, or remembering each time you push the elevator button that you’re going to take the stairs instead.

 

 

 

 

 

5. Allow yourself to slip up - and get back on track “Success isn’t about avoiding failure at all costs, it’s about learning and getting better over time. So every time you slip up (and you will - everyone does), try to reframe it as a chance to come back stronger and wiser.”

Lucy Greeves, head writer

 

 

According to behavior change expert John Norcross, early slips do not predict failure. In fact, the most successful resolvers tend to be people who come off the rails early on, but make the necessary course-corrections to get back on track with their habits. So even if you break your new habit multiple times in the first few months, remember that every time you restart it you’re building the mental muscle that will help you power through and change things for good.

 

 

A HELPING HAND WITH HEALTHY HABITS

If you’re inspired to eat more fruits and veggies in 2020, our instant smoothies are an effortless way to boost your daily intake. Shake one up at breakfast time, and you’re nearly halfway to your daily fruit and veggie goal already.