As we all know, “lifestyle changes” sounds like the easiest prescription, but it’s probably the hardest one to adopt.
Whether your goal is to cut out caffeine, eat more fruits and vegetables, or become more physically active, the key is to incorporate that change into your daily life and make it a habit.
James Clear, a writer who has focused his work behavioral psychology, habit formation, and performance improvement, has developed this guide for building a new habit.
He has found that it’s critical to break things down into small, achievable goals, and to be patient – with yourself and with your progress. Especially interesting is the “Seinfeld Strategy” for keeping your momentum.
If you find the new habits particularly difficult to adopt, here are some creative tips from Psychology Today for keeping yourself motivated:
- Pay yourself every time you meet one of your goals
- Create if-then plans (if I do ___, then I will ___)
- Compete with a friend – fitness trackers often have apps to help you keep track of each other
- Use external monitoring (write down your progress)
- Make social contracts – find a workout, cooking, or grocery shopping buddy
For more ideas on choosing goals and getting started, check out this Heart Healthy Living Guide for Patients and Families, produced by the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, a CANet partner institution.
Do you have any tips that have worked well for you? Let us know, and we’ll share them with our readers!