A huge majority of people aim to develop healthy habits at the start of the New Year. January is renowned for jam-packed gyms and healthy lifestyle changes everywhere but once the initial motivation waivers, it can be difficult to maintain these habits long-term.
Unfortunately many people feel unable to continue with these lifestyle changes past January and give up their new habits pretty early on. In this blog, we’re going to talk you through the small steps you can take to maintain these habits throughout the rest of the year, without placing too much pressure on yourself.
Start small & set realistic goals
We covered this in our previous blog about managing the stress of the New Year but setting realistic goals really can give you the best chance of maintaining your healthy lifestyle past the first month of the year.
By starting small with your goals, you’re more likely to succeed and feel a sense of achievement. Setting unrealistic goals can be unattainable and lead to feelings of failure - which could then tempt you to ‘give up’ on your new habits. Once you achieve your realistic goals, you can always set your sights higher!
All about balance
Your new healthy habits should still maintain a level of balance. If you’re trying to improve your diet, cutting out entire food groups, over-restricting or denying yourself your favourite foods can be very difficult to maintain. Allowing yourself treats and enjoying your favourite foods in moderation is still a big step in the right direction!
You can even try making your favourite takeaway meals at home with fresh ingredients, as there are plenty of ‘fakeaway’ recipes available online! By maintaining that balance, you’re far more likely to continue your habits long-term.
Make changes you enjoy
Leading a healthier lifestyle does not mean that you have to do what you don’t enjoy! Trying and testing different things and finding what you enjoy is key to longevity. When it comes to being more active, finding an exercise that you genuinely enjoy is so important for maintaining your habits.
Whether that is weight-lifting, Zumba or hiking at the weekend with friends - if you enjoy your new habits, maintaining them won’t be difficult at all. You will actually look forward to your activity and continuing long-term will be so much easier.
Lose the all or nothing mentality
Unfortunately the ‘all or nothing’ mentality leads to many people giving up on their new habits after one inactive day or a single indulgent meal. As mentioned above, balance is key and one day won’t make any difference to your long-term achievements. It is just one day!
If you overindulge or skip a few gym classes, instead of giving up why not just wake up the next day and start afresh. One ‘bad’ day won’t spoil your chances of reaching your long term goals, but giving up completely might!
By keeping these all in mind, you can set yourself up to maintain those healthy habits long-term instead of giving up in January. Just remember to celebrate the small wins and avoid placing too much pressure on yourself to be ‘perfect’. Consistency and maintaining your healthier habits is far more important than perfection!