Categories: Fitness3.3 min read

by Stephen Luther, M.D.


Building a Healthier You: How to Form Lasting Habits

Three Steps to Change Behaviors

Old habits die hard.

This age-old phrase reminds us of challenges tied to change. While it’s easy to agree with Harvard Health (“engaging in habit changes for self-improvement is key to vitality and well-being at all ages”), actions speak louder than words, prompting Symbios to act on Harvard’s related research that shows that “one common reason people do not succeed in making lasting change is that they don’t first create a solid foundation.”

Symbios can assist you in successfully cultivating a healthy lifestyle in three steps: make, master, and maintain.

1. MAKE: Simple, Personal, and Achievable Goals

The key to healthy habits becoming second nature is making specific goals. Begin by carefully considering and choosing meaningful behaviors to improve your life. While we often speak of changing a behavior, you cannot form a habit of not doing something. Instead of setting a broad goal such as reducing the amount of evening TV watching, Symbios recommends breaking it down into measurable, daily actions such as reading for 30 minutes, completing a crossword puzzle, or walking two miles after dinner. A solid foundation for making goals is provided in the hearty framework of Kickstart70, a transformative 70-day program that can elevate us from a state of metabolic unhealthiness to vitality.

Symbios also suggests examining your current routine for triggers – such as a time, place, person, emotion, or action that sparks undesired behavior – and making plans to overcome them. Frontiers in Psychology examines habits as a response to external cues or an automatic behavior. Do the movies prompt you to overindulge in popcorn? Or do you routinely brush your teeth at night because your brain minimizes energy expenditure by constantly building a mental model of your world? Symbios uses the physical and psychological combination of habit formation in Kickstart70.

2. MASTER: Enforce the Power of Repetition

Repetition is the cornerstone of mastering a habit. Your brain learns by consistently performing a specific action in a chosen context, whether reading a devotional while your coffee brews or improving relations by calling a friend on your drive to work, regularity is a powerful tool that enforces its importance on your mind.

It’s reassuring to know that mastering your goal becomes progressively easier with:

  • Support: Success rates increase when you leverage the support of others with similar aspirations. Accountability and encouraging others can motivate you if your attention wanes. Shared experiences also make the habit-forming journey more enjoyable.
  • Friendly Competition: Turn well-intentioned goals into achievements by tapping into our natural inclination to perform better in a supportive yet challenging environment.
  • Celebrating Milestones: Recognize your achievements by tracking daily goals. Acknowledging your progress with others reinforces your positive changes. (FYI, Kickstart70 will reward team milestones with prizes!)

3. MAINTAIN: Benefit from a Healthier, Fitter, More Beautiful You

Proven research shows a new behavior takes approximately 66 days to become ingrained in our daily routine. Maintain your routines by:

  • Tracking Progress: A checklist or journal is a rewarding method to record accomplishments while noting improvement techniques.
  • Planning:Scheduling time and resources will keep your habits flourishing. Does your healthy habit require early rising for quiet time, a gym membership, or a fridge stocked with sparkling water?
  • Rewarding Solutions: Treat yourself to a spa service or massage to remind yourself of your goal to be your best.
  • Support: You strengthen every phase of forming GOOD habits when you surround yourself with positive, health-orientated people. Summon the motivation for daily walks by forming a walking club in your neighborhood or gathering friends to try new recipes.

Your Best Lifestyle

Building healthy habits requires commitment, repetition, and support for 66 to 70 days. Making simple and measurable goals, enlisting the help of friends, embracing accountability, and infusing a bit of friendly competition will help you master positive changes and maintain habits for a healthier, fitter, and more beautiful you.

The journey is as important as the destination; click to join Kickstart70 today!


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