How to Form Healthy Habits that Last

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Trying out the latest fitness trends? Easy! Sticking to them? That’s the tough part. Whether you’re just beginning or well on your way toward a healthy lifestyle, these tips, developed by alumnus Taylor Robbins (12), can help. Taylor and his wife, Nikki (12), own an online fitness company called Body Temple System. Their expertise reaches people from San Diego to Germany, helping them form healthy habits for the (literal) long run.

Tip #1: Determine

Commitment is essential. Determine in your heart and mind exactly what you will do to create a healthy life—not as a temporary fix but as a lifelong habit. Key outcome? By honoring your commitments no matter what, you’ll have more “skin in the game” and uphold your integrity in every area of life.

Tip #2: Declare

Stating out loud or writing down your specific “action plan” increases your willpower. Say, “I am going to eat a cookie tomorrow at 5 p.m.,” for example. Declaring intentions enables you to no longer think about them—and you likely won’t crave something ahead of time. Key outcome? You’ll grow your willpower muscle!

Tip #3: Decrease

Too many choices decreases willpower, so cut alternatives and give yourself just two options—not five or ten. For example, tell yourself, “I can workout or sleep.” Also, don’t have multiple unhealthy options in your fridge. Instead, have only two choices: veggies or fruit. Key outcome? Less unhealthy options = making healthy choices easier!

Tip #4: Display

Visual “goal bombardment” reminds your brain to prioritize and focus on what you truly care about. Write down your goals on bright sticky notes or index cards and post them everywhere: on your nightstand, dashboard, mirrors, and refrigerator door. Key outcome? Your highest health goals (instead of mint chocolate chip) will always be “top of mind.”

Tip #5: Dial Down

Choose a moderate-paced lifestyle. Instead of trying to “kill it” with two-hour workouts and perfect nutrition—and relapsing to fast food and video games after a week—take a more balanced, “dialed-down” approach. Try the 10 percent rule: every week, allow 10 percent of your snacks to be junk food. Only train daily for an hour, and give yourself a few days off from the gym every week. Focusing on maintaining moderation rather than killing yourself to hit extremes will help you experience sustained success. Key outcome? You will develop lasting habits through attainable, modest goals.

BY KAYLE FIELDS

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