How to Make Sustainable Lifestyle Changes that Will Finally Stick
Last updated on June 2nd, 2022 at 12:07 am
Hopefully, these 5 effective tips will help you make sustainable lifestyle changes that will finally stick. I write from my own experience and I can tell you that sticking to your new, more sustainable ways of living is really about consistency, forgiving “non-perfect” days and going with the flow. Yes, as simple as that. We all want quick and easy results — and, surprisingly, some come very quickly! But there are moments when you slip and forget your good intentions. Don’t despair, that’s completely normal! I am happy to tell you that I have undergone this transformation myself and I can assure you that I am happy and healthy.
It’s not easy to make conscious lifestyle changes and stick with them (in order for them to last for the rest of your life).
Sometimes, the process can be so overwhelming that we still feel conflicted about what we want to do for our own benefits vs the comfort of what we’re used to doing for so long.
An example would be: “Do I want to continue to drink my coffee with sugar (which is not good for me) or do I want to try the bitter taste of coffee without the sugar?”
However, as much as these conscious changes are not easy, they are very necessary because what we have been doing so far is obviously not working for us.
And other times, it’s just too difficult to keep up with changing daily habits and remembering what you learned the day before. So you might find that changing a particular habit was not so difficult but will forget to do it from then on because it’s not a daily thing.
And yet, there are some changes that really can stick with us for the rest of our lives. Why? Because we should have been doing these things all along (in order for them to really work for us). That’s why you should know what these are. They are simple for the most part, but something that we can all benefit from.
Here are 5 tips that will help you make sustainable lifestyle changes that will finally stick (and work for you).
1. Practice the Power of Now
The best way to make sustainable lifestyle changes that stick is to practice being present and mindful of the current moment, as and when you’re creating that new habit. That’s because when you’re mindful, you are completely aware of what you’re doing, whether or not it’s good for your body (health), and how it will impact your life.
For example: when you take a bite of an apple versus a bite of a candy bar, you can actually taste the difference in the quality of food. Being present will help you remember what you should be doing for your own benefit and work on that new healthy change in your life. It will help you pay attention to what is going on not only with your mind but also with your body because it’s a more natural way of living.
When you are present you “imprint” the new habit into your mind. You make it more tangible, more real – you infuse it with your presence and this will give it power.
2. Think of Yourself as a Beginner when Making Those Changes
Approach making lifestyle changes like a beginner. Like you did when you learned how to drive a car. If it was your first time, you had to first use the brakes and think about what each pedal was for (accelerator, brake and the clutch).
Having a beginner’s mind will help you make better decisions because you will not use the same processes that you used when making bad choices.
If you’re still new to changing your habits, start with small changes and baby steps. Doing so will help you build confidence in yourself and your decision-making process.
When you practice the power of a beginner’s mind, you have to remind yourself that this is a new regime or routine, just like you started to learn how to walk or ride a bicycle.
3. What Matters is the Big Picture
It can be so easy to get caught up in all the details and forget about the bigger picture. Making lifestyle changes that last is not a matter of what works best for you, but of how well the changes will benefit you long-term.
When you’re aware of what is truly important in your life, it will guide you in creating sustainable lifestyle changes that will last for the rest of your life.
So instead of focusing on habits that are simple to do and don’t require a lot of effort, focus on habits that can make an impact on your life (in a big way). For example, when you start eating healthier, you’re not just benefiting yourself by living longer and looking good, but you’re also impacting your family and perhaps their longevity as well as they might start to think about the things they eat.
The bigger picture should be the foundation of everything you do. It is the most important thing and it will serve as the basis of your new healthy lifestyle and the ones that follow.
Yes, making small changes is important to fully benefit from a new healthy routine, but the changes you make that stick will be the ones that you focus on. The most important change is to take care of your long-term health and happiness.
When you look back you will see how a few simple changes have taken you a long way, and it will most probably feel effortless. That’s how I experience it.
4. Always Connect Your Habits to Your Goals
Change is good and necessary, but only if it will benefit you. If not, it’s not worth the effort and energy you put into making that change.
That’s why it makes sense to always connect your habit to a goal. For example, if you want to eat healthier because you want to feel better and live longer, then do it – do what works for you.
The habit will work only if it helps you achieve the goal. Beware of goals that are NOT HEALTHY or good for you. For example, changing eating habits so you can look more attractive and so get other people to like you or approve of you. This is not a healthy goal. You might be successful and get the results you wanted, but as it is with all other habits, they tend to go away once the initial motivation wanes, because, the motivation was a bad one in the first place.
Perhaps you could write a list of goals and make a checkmark next to each one that is good for you (i.e., the things that feel right and healthy vs the ones that are a little more dubious). Then decide which habits will help you accomplish those goals.
I’ll give you another example: if you want to make better friends, start by being a better listener. That’s a small change that can have a big impact on your social life. Being a good listener will help you connect with other people in a way that both you and them can benefit from.
One clue to finding out if a goal is “healthy” would be to see if it benefits you AS WELL AS other people. When goals are healthy they benefit everyone.
5. Enjoy the Process While You Watch Yourself Transform
Enjoy the process of making changes and being healthier. The more you enjoy your new healthy routine, the more you will stick to it and the better you will feel.
If you focus on a new healthy lifestyle change because it feels good to be healthier, then that’s what will eventually happen – because you have engaged in activities that feel right for yourself.
So watch yourself transform and enjoy the process of becoming your healthiest self. It’s a lot easier than you think.
Being healthy feels good, and once you get into it, it becomes easy to see how it will make a difference in what is important to you.
It’s not only about living longer but being more present in everyday life, with your family, your friends and colleagues. And, eventually, with yourself.
Focus on enjoying the process of adopting new habits and being happier. This is how you make everyday special.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when making sustainable lifestyle changes is that there is a time commitment involved. It’s not easy to do, but it’s worth it. You need to make a commitment to yourself that you’re going to stick with it (and not give up) for the rest of your life.
If you’re hanging on by your fingernails, then you might be tempted to give up because the changes are taking too long and just too hard for you.
Also, think progress, not perfection. I don’t always make the perfect choices, but, overall and looking back, I have had more success and joy with my choices than I ever had when I was a “perfectionist.”
It has not been easy at times but it has been WELL WORTH IT at all times!
That’s my suggestion, take what you need and leave the rest 🙂