Habits are a huge hot topic nowadays, and honestly, I couldn’t be more thrilled! Why? Because our habits determine our behavior, and our behavior determines the experience we have in life.
We all have habits, most likely a mixture of good and bad ones. And according to many neurological experts, we begin developing them from as young as nine years old!
But here’s the interesting thing. The longer we have a habit, the harder it is to break. So if we unconsciously picked up the habit of snacking in the evenings as a child, changing that will NOT be easy.
Breaking bad habits and building healthy ones is no walk in the park. But when you understand the mental processes of habit formation, you learn the hacks to make new habits stick.
This is what I’m discussing in this week’s Youtube video and podcast. I’m sharing the most common mistakes people (myself included) make when starting a new healthy habit and what to do to prevent them.
Intrigued? Here are the three reasons why your healthy habits might fail.
- Choosing The Wrong Habit
Before you implement a new healthy habit, make sure it is the right one for you. I can’t tell you how many people I see start “trendy” ones that their friends and family are doing, or what they think they should be doing.
One relevant example is yoga. I adore yoga and think everyone should practice it because it is so beneficial. However, I also know it is not everyone’s cup of tea.
You should never force yourself to do something that doesn’t feel right for you, and you don’t have to. With physical exercise, there are so many options out there. You can dance, box, run, or stretch your way to peak fitness.
The same is true with diet. There are so many different diet techniques, and finding the one that best suits your needs and lifestyle is essential for success. For example, if you don’t eat meat, keto will be very challenging and, thus, is likely not the best diet for you.
So, before you choose a healthy habit, I suggest you take some time to self-reflect. Think about what changes will fit your lifestyle and improve your well-being. Don’t just choose the one that is currently trending!
- Starting Too Big
Another huge mistake people make at the beginning stages of habit formation is starting too big and getting totally overwhelmed. With habits, it is always better to start small and build it up gradually.
For example, let’s say you’re trying to create a habit of working out for one hour each morning. One morning, after a lousy night’s sleep, you wake up exhausted and don’t feel like doing anything. On top of that, you have an important presentation to do that day, and you still need to prepare for it.
In this situation, you will likely skip that one-hour workout to hit the snooze button or get a headstart on work.
However, if your goal is to do a minimum of 5 minutes of exercise each morning, you’re much more likely to muster the inner discipline to do it.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you can only work out for 5 minutes every day. On good days you’ll likely continue for an hour. But, having the rule of a minimum of 5 minutes removes the pressure and keeps you motivated regardless of the mood you wake up in.
- Putting Too Much Focus On The Long Term
This one will likely surprise you; it certainly did me! In various areas of personal development, we are told to envision our ideal self (who we want to become) and keep our focus on this. Now, this is sound advice, BUT doing only this is not enough.
In fact, many people fail to maintain healthy habits because they focus too much on the long-term benefits. Why is this?
Well, one of the main reasons we are told to think about the end result is because it motivates us to keep going and pushes us to do challenging and unenjoyable things. We know that if we reach our goal, it will all be worth it.
However, motivation is fleeting, so we cannot rely on willpower alone when building habits. There will be days when the image of yourself living your best life doesn’t motivate you. If your entire focus is on the long-term benefits, you will seriously struggle during these times!
So how do we get around this? In addition to focusing on the big picture, you should create an environment supporting your new healthy habits. This involves removing distractions and surrounding yourself with encouraging and supportive people.
Another reason I don’t recommend focusing TOO much on the future result is that the end goal often feels so far away from where we are right now, which can be demotivating rather than encouraging! In these cases, setting many mini-goals and focusing on the closest one rather than the end destination can be more beneficial.
Watch the full episode on Youtube to learn about other common but surprising mistakes and how to avoid them.
If you prefer an audio-only version, here’s where you can listen to the podcast episode:
Which of these mistakes do you encounter the most? What will you change to ensure your next healthy habit sticks? Let me know in the comments, or find me on Instagram and send me a DM!
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