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7 Steps to Creating Successful Healthy Habits

January 2013

Article by Tara Rayburn

January is a great time for me to review who I am, where I’m going and how I’m going to get there. Most people make New Year’s Resolutions with aspirations of better health, stronger relationships or financial abundance - all with the best of intentions. Unfortunately, most of those resolutions have usually fallen to the wayside by early February, if not before.

Why does this happen?

Most of us either make a resolution too vague or too big, which makes it hard to succeed. For example, common resolutions like, “I’m going to get into shape” or “I’m going to eat better,” are not only vague, but hard to measure. Being specific allows you to measure your progress by listing smaller goals to achieve along the way. This is a more effective way to stay motivated and on track.

“I’m going to get into shape” can easily become, “I’m going to walk for 20 minutes, 3 times a week.” Or transform “I’m going to eat better,” into “I’m going to bring fresh vegetables and fruit to snack on at work at least 3 days a week.”

Boom!  Simple, Do-Able and Measurable.

This year, instead of resolutions, try adding one healthy habit at a time. The experience can transform your life and the lives around those you.

The best healthy habit to start with is the habit you will actually do, so choose something in your comfort zone that you can and will practice. You might be ready to learn how to cook the perfect omelet, or to use a glass or stainless steel water bottle instead of plastic water bottles. Or, perhaps you commit to waking each morning with an attitude of gratitude by starting a gratitude journal, or setting up direct deposit into a vacation fund for you and your family. Whatever it is, choose a healthy habit you feel you can achieve. By starting with something manageable, additional habits will become easier to add onto your life.

7 Steps to Creating Successful Healthy Habits

1) List your top 3 health goals/challenges

2) Choose one goal/challenge to start with

3) Brainstorm at least 10 habits that would support this goal

4) Choose one habit to practice for at least one week

5) After one week review it. Does work for you? Have you noticed a difference?

6) Keep that habit and/or try a new one from your list.

7) Repeat steps

Even if you add only one healthy habit a month, that translates to 12 new uplifting habits for the year. The benefits can be transformative!

Tara Rayburn, The Healthy Habit Coach

3 Examples of Creating Positive Anchors

Some of us get stalled just thinking about the words “resolutions” or “goals.” As a Healthy Habit Coach, I have learned that the association someone has created with a word, practice or concept is one of the most powerful elements in whether or not that person is going to actually succeed in finding a solution. I call this “anchoring.” It is the mental and/or emotional association you have literally “anchored” into a particular word, activity, situation, food, etc. We all have beneficial anchors and some less than beneficial anchors in our lives.  One way to set ourselves up for success is to create positive anchors for uplifting our lives.

1. Eat your vegetables

Many of us have negative associations with eating vegetables. One way to adjust this is to add vegetables as ingredients to foods like pancakes, brownies cookies. My favorite jaw dropper is broccoli puree in brownies. Seriously, you cannot taste the broccoli. I wait until my family and friends say, "Yum. These are great! What's in them?" Then, I just casually mention "squash,” or whatever it is. We all have good laugh together and the experience, along with the brownies, helps to strengthen that new anchor.

2. Laugh to the bank

I used to dread going to the bank because I didn't want to see my bank balance or find out I had bounced a check. So, I created a positive anchor for withdrawing money. These days I love going to the bank because I have anchored that experience with growing my business and my ability to create more projects and help more people. I always joke with the teller on duty when they ask if they can help me with anything else.  I reply, "Yes, send thoughts of growth and abundance over my account."  They give me a nod and a quizzical glance then my daughter rolls her eyes and says "Oh, Mother!" I just smile and look forward to another abundant trip to the bank. Ha, I just realized I'm laughing all the way to and from the bank! Bad joke? It’s alright, I’m still smiling.

3. Friendly exercise

We often have resistance when it comes to exercise. Perhaps it goes back to grade school physical education classes or an overbearing coach. Or, we’ve simply spent so much money on gym memberships and equipment we didn't use that the idea of working is a source of frustration.  After our family moved from Virginia to Las Vegas I got out of the habit of exercising. Fortunately, I became friends with a couple of women in the same situation and we started walking together after dropping our kids off at school. We began looking forward to our walks and it launched each of us into getting back to exercise. 

Whatever negative association you may have with a healthy habit, the truth is that you can have a very different experience by choosing a positive anchor.

Focus on Creating Healthy Habits Rather Than Making Resolutions.

I believe health is most affected by daily habits. What we do on each day has the potential to exponentially uplift our lives, or drag us down.  Choose to create healthy habits instead of resolutions and set yourself up for greater long term success.  

About Tara

Tara Rayburn, The Healthy Habit Coach, is a speaker, author, blogger and Mom-on-a-Mission of empowering herself and others with uplifting habits for the mind, body and soul. To learn more about creating healthy habits visit her at The Healthy Habit Coach website, or on Twitter: @TaraRayburn,  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thehealthyhabitcoach or Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/tararayburn

Photos provided courtesty of Tara Rayburn, The Healthy Habit Coach.


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