Transformation is a side effect of accumulating many healthy habits. You have the obvious ones like eat more veggies or lift weights, but I’ve pinpointed 10 healthy habits I think are even more important.
These are the habits I see people struggle with time and time again. They’re also the habits that, once incorporated into your life, dramatically change who you are both on the inside and out.
Which of these habits do you need to work on?
Keep the Promises You Make to Yourself
Achieving goals is a habit, so you have to set up your goals in a way that ensures you consistently reach them. You want to reinforce the trust and confidence in yourself that you have it in you to follow through with what you set out to do.
When you make a promise to another person you have a very good chance of following through. You wouldn’t make a promise you don’t intend to keep. You have to do the same with the promises you make to yourself.
What can you manage this week? Three workouts? A healthy breakfast each day? Whatever the case, get in the habit of setting achievable goals and then following through.
Get Right Back on Track After a Slip-Up
You’re going to mess up. But what you do after that mess up is what determines your success.
Make it a habit to get right back on track with your next healthy decision. It’s not the mess up that derails your progress, it’s the many meals or days that mess up tends to continue for.
Don’t overcompensate by eating less or working out more. Get right back to practicing the healthy behaviors you want in your life.
One bad meal doesn’t make or break your success. It’s the sum of your habits – what you do day in and day out that matters most.
Moderate Your Restriction
Feeling restricted or deprived is a sure sign that adherence is going to be threatened in the future. Fighting restriction means you’re subsisting on willpower to get you through the days.
We don’t want to live off willpower. We want to live off habits.
Loosen up your diet a little. Don’t cut so many calories and don’t restrict your food choices so much. Living in that middle ground while maintaining a calorie deficit is what transforms your body for the long term.
Let Go of Perfectionism and Black/White Thinking
Just because something isn’t the way you want it to be it doesn’t mean it’s not good or effective. Too many people let perfectionism or all-or-nothing thinking dictate their actions.
You have a leg injury? Yes I’m sure you’d love to be able to train your lower body, but your upper body can still be worked.
So you ate off your plan. That doesn’t mean the day is ruined and you should just eat whatever you want and start over tomorrow or Monday.
Your next healthy meal is just a few hours away. Take advantage of the opportunity to make progress.
Improve Your Relationship With the Scale
You can have a good relationship with your scale weighing every day or weighing once per month. You can also have an unhealthy relationship with it weighing every day or weighing just once per month.
It’s not the frequency of your weigh-ins that determines that relationship – it’s how you view the number you see on it and whether that number dictates your mood and behaviors.
The scale is a feedback tool. It’s nothing more or less. It helps you to make decisions.
Understand that the scale only gives a partial picture of progress and that you have to look at the big picture – tape measurements, progress pics, strength, health, confidence, body image, etc, to know what’s really go on.
Welcome the Struggle
Too many people practice struggle avoidance. They see struggle as a sign of weakness or that they’re doing something wrong.
In reality, the struggle is a sign you’re on the right path. It means you’ve found something that needs to be overcome for you to succeed.
It’s these moments of overcoming struggle that really change you. So start viewing struggle as a positive – an opportunity and sign you’re right on track.
Practice Mindful Eating
You should be practicing mindful eating whether you choose to count calories or not. It’s one of the most effective healthy eating habits you can incorporate into your life.
That means each meal should be eaten with intent. Don’t let food just happen to you.
Pay attention to what’s sitting in front of you. Notice the presentation, taste, texture, temperature, and how your hunger is affected by the volume and type of food you eat.
Doing so will help you reap more satisfaction from your food, which leads to you eating less over time.
Be Proactive With Recovery
So many people think of recovery as doing nothing. It’s just the opposite – recovery is doing something.
You don’t grow when you work out. You grow when you rest.
But recovery isn’t just about days off from the gym, it’s also about your sleep quantity and quality, how you deal with stress, and how often you’re getting into a flow state and doing something you enjoy.
I personally take an hour a day, a day a week, a weekend a month, and a week twice per year to take care of me. My wife and I work as a team on this so we both can enjoy our recovery.
Improve Your Body Image
How do you view yourself? The words we use to describe ourself can be quite depressing. We’d never say these things to anyone else, but when it comes to ourselves, we really make sure we understand how much we hate our bodies.
Something I’ve learned over the years is that you can’t wait to lose weight to start liking yourself again. Your body image has to be worked on at the same time as you work on your body.
If you make body acceptance contingent upon losing weight you end up carrying a critical mindset with you all the way along your journey.
Before you know it you have a six pack but can’t stop obsessing over that ounce of fat on your butt. You’re just as miserable too.
Stay Engaged With the Process
Too many people are outcome orientated. Because of this they only stay motivated so long as the outcome is doing what they want.
I ask many of my clients – “if you could never lose another pound what would you eat and how would you exercise?”
The answer to this question shows me whether people are taking action because they enjoy it or only because they hope for a certain outcome.
To succeed long term you have let go of trying to control the outcome and instead focus more on the behaviors you enjoy that make you feel your best.
Ironically, when you do that the outcome is naturally influenced in your favor.