What stops you from meeting your health goals?
The September Healthy Habit Hack: Dig-in to what stops you
We’re well into 2022 – in fact, we’re closing in on 2023 – which means you’ve likely had time to start up new healthy habits or stop bad ones. Since we still have several months left of 2022, perhaps now is a good time to reflect on what has stopped you from reaching your health goals thus far (or maybe you’ve already reached them – in that case, Bravo!)
Welcome back to the Healthy Habit Hacks blog series! We’re here to help turn your healthy intentions into habits. This month’s topic is “Dig-in to what stops you” from developing desired habits.
When you find out what stops you from practicing a healthy habit or stopping a bad one, you can come up with a plan for addressing it. Planning for and practicing a healthy habit and learning from challenges, stumbling blocks and missteps along the way will help you grow so that in time, you can reach your health goals and keep up your desired habits.
Forming a healthy habit?
When forming a healthy habit – or breaking a bad one – we’ve talked about setting goals and tracking your progress. One reason for tracking your progress is to help identify struggles and stumbling blocks that you encounter so that you can make adjustments to your goals or your actions. Things that could slow you down, set you back or stop you could be internal factors such as fear of failure, peer pressure and stress, or external factors such as a medical issue. For some people, getting started is the hardest part – read more on how to get through “beginner hesitancy”.
Whatever is slowing you down, take note and make a plan for how to work through it. For example, if your goal is to exercise three times a week and you notice that you’re only able to exercise twice a week because of the weather, come up with a back-up plan – if it’s during a season that is just too hot or humid, have a home indoor activity or gym membership lined up or if it’s raining, have rain gear ready. Or maybe you find out you’re bored with your routine and just don’t feel like working out many days. If that’s the case, consider finding a friend to workout with or plan to engage in a different workout every week . Read more about how to break down barriers to exercise here. Many of these examples can also apply to building other healthy behaviors.
Breaking a bad habit?
Often when breaking a bad habit, you may find certain situations, emotions or people may cause you to start back up the bad habit. As an example, you may find when trying to cut back on drinking alcohol, attending happy hour with your co-workers is stopping you from reaching your goal. Have a plan for either alternating water and drinks or deciding to go on a bicycle ride or watching a movie instead of attending happy hour. Or maybe when trying to stop negative thoughts you find that whenever you’re lonely you start to think negatively so you realize it’s time to look for a social group to join or reach out to a friend more regularly. Again, the best thing you can do is have a plan or strategy for how to manage the trigger or challenge that gets you side-tracked. Track your actions and progress regularly so you can identify patterns of when you might stumble.
Health coaches have been helping people quit smoking for many years by helping them deal with obstacles and triggers that can get in the way of reaching the goal of quitting smoking. No matter what habit you’re trying to break (quitting smoking, stopping negative thoughts, cutting back on drinking alcohol or social media and others), see if you can also learn how to better manage triggers.
When you dig into and examine what holds you back, you can then make a plan to address the emotional, circumstantial or other obstacles and be on your way to reaching your health goals!
As a reminder, we’ve shared these monthly hacks so far this year: