How to Get Healthy Habits to Stick

Who doesn’t want to be fit, slim, and enjoy the benefits of a healthy lifestyle? So how come there are so few of us who can claim to be satisfied with our overall health?

Consumers today are obsessed with fitness wearables, fitness app trackers, and superfoods. Yet for all our obsessing, the US battles with higher obesity rates than at any other time in history. In a telling survey covered by, retirees’ top concern 10 years into retirement was their health.

What gives? And how can we deal with the disconnect between our desire to be healthier and making habits that contribute toward a healthier life? We look at what experts reveal could be key to better health decisions.

Find your reason:

Whatever your health goal might be, without a reason that is compelling enough for you, you won’t make any progress.

Just knowing that exercise is good for your health will not make you take that walk outside. But what will work? Tying that walk to looking good at your reunion in a couple months might get you anxious enough to put in the effort.

Want to quit smoking? According to this cosmetic dentist in Shelby Township MI, “In order to get motivated to quit, you need a personal reason that’s powerful and meaningful. Perhaps you don’t want your kids to see you smoke and grow up to be smokers, or maybe your dad died of lung cancer and you don’t want to follow the same fate. Maybe it’s cosmetic: you want to improve your smile and not smell like smoke all the time. Whatever it is, find your reason.”

Shock yourself.

Occasionally, we all need a bucketful of cold water poured over our heads to get us to realize the consequences of our bad behavior.

Watch documentaries that reveal the harmful effects of junk food on our body, the environment, and animals. Such shows can serve as a wakeup call that will help push you into better habits.

If you are a sugar addict, start with That Sugar Film (2014) on Netflix. If your weakness is fast-food, watch Super Size Me (2004). If your doctor wants you to quit eating so much red meat, but you can’t get up enough nerve to do it? Watch Forks Over Knives (2011). This documentary claims that a huge number of degenerative diseases in the US could be curbed by going vegetarian. Read up on your health risk profile. Assess how much it will cost to treat one of the illnesses looming in your future if you do not prevent it. What kind of damage to your quality of life will it do? Taking a hard look at the health risks ahead can create a sense of urgency that will help you make better choices.

Know your triggers:

Some people can’t resist chips when they are feeling stressed out. Others get a bad case of junk food mania after they have had a few drinks and their self-control is at a low.

What triggers your unhealthy habit that you want to get rid of? Do you know? Observe yourself over the next couple days and as soon as a craving for that bad habit rears its head, take a step back. Be curious. Ask yourself what triggered that craving. Once you know your triggers, you can take measures to cut out those triggers in your life.

For some, it will mean not having junk food in the house if they know they tend to reach for the chips in the evening when their favorite show is on.


Replace your bad habits with good ones:

Trying to go cold turkey on bad habits will leave a bunch of empty holes in your life. Fill those holes up with good habits before the bad habit finds a way to sneak back in.

Getting rid of all the junk food in your house is a fantastic move. But what happens when you get hit with a craving for salt? Do you have a plan in place to see you over that hump? Fill up those now-empty shelves with healthy alternatives. Buy popcorn kernels for fresh, home-popped popcorn. Look up a recipe for a delicious vegetable dip and keep carrots in your fridge for those times when you need some crunchy relief.

For every bad habit that you are trying to cut from your life, have a separate healthy habit you want to cultivate in its place.