Person writing Small steps, big changes into a calendar

How to create habits that stick

Turning a behavior or activity into a habit takes effort and the right mindset. But no matter what your weight loss goals are, when healthy choices become automatic, they can propel you from where you are on your weight loss journey to where you want to be.

With that in mind, here are 9 things you can do to make habits stick!

1. Start simple

Person checking off a GOLO shopping list at her desk.

An easy mistake you can make when trying to form a healthy, new habit is taking on too much at once. Making drastic lifestyle changes can be stressful and challenging to maintain, and it’s unlikely you’ll be able to completely change your life in one day.

Instead, come up with a simple, tangible goal and break it down into small, achievable increments.

Smaller, simple plans will help you gradually build up to something more significant when you’re ready.


2. Set yourself up for success 

Woman putting healthy food into her refrigerator

Enable your new, healthy habit by addressing usual excuses and obstacles. Getting rid of temptations or barriers to the habit you’re trying to create will help you follow through and solidify that habit.

If you’re trying to lose weight, a simple way to set yourself up for success is to get rid of any tempting, unhealthy food, thus eliminating the need for willpower.

3. Replace lost needs

Getting rid of a tempting, unhealthy food is a good start to eating healthier. But it will be much easier to deal with if you replace that unhealthy food with something you like.

If you like sweets, make sure to include a fruit that you love with your balanced meals as often as possible.

4. Make it fun

Finding ways to make the pursuit of your goal ‘fun’ will go a long way in helping you achieve your goal.

For instance, it will be easier for you to get excited about meal planning or fitting exercise into your routine if you could do it while listening to your favorite music or watching a TV show.

Getting the instant gratification of doing something you like will help you create a habit out of something with a delayed reward, like eating healthy

If you’re looking to add some fun to your weight loss journey that can help keep you on track, check out our Health Goal Coloring Calendar. Our Coloring Calendar will help keep you motivated to achieve your weight loss goals by tracking your daily progress throughout the year. 

5. Stack your habits

Habit stacking is something you may not have heard of before but is very helpful when trying to develop new habits. Habit stacking is when you pair a new habit with one you already do to help you incorporate the new habit into your life.

For example, “After I leave the office, I will go for a brisk walk.”

6. Visualize your success

A Transformation Meter going from 0% up to 100%

Having the right mindset can go a long way in creating new, healthy habits.

One way to create a healthy mindset is to visualize yourself accomplishing your goals. Think about how rewarding it will be to lose weight and what you’ll be able to do when living a healthier lifestyle that you wish you could do now.

These visualizations can help motivate you to create habits that stick.

7. Strive for progress, not perfection

Forming new habits takes a lot of time and effort, which is why it’s important to go easy on yourself as you work through the process.

Creating a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean eating perfectly every day. If and when you indulge in unhealthy foods, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, just get back on track at the next meal. 

8. Find an accountability partner

Two women running together wearing workout clothes

Finding someone who wants to create similar healthy habits can be a great way to stay motivated and on track. Find an accountability partner to help keep you on track.

We’re strongly influenced by the behaviors of the people around us. This is why we recommend spending more time with people who already have healthy habits you admire. Being around people who are doing things you want to do will make it easier to incorporate those habits into your lifestyle. 

Try teaming up with a friend, work buddy or your partner. Think outside the box when it comes to choosing an accountability partner. You can text and video chat with people who live elsewhere if you don’t have a partner close to you!

9. Keep track of your victories

A person writing down a list of to dos on a pad of paper. The pad is on a table with a healthy smoothy, an apple, and weights.

When it comes to losing weight, it’s easy to notice the positive, external factors like your weight or inches lost around your waist. But weight loss is also about how you feel.

If you aren’t achieving the weight loss goals you hope for right away, be patient and note how eating healthy foods makes you feel. Trust that the habits you are forming now will help to create a healthy lifestyle and reach your weight loss goals. 


This article was written by the GOLO team with facts supported by the following sources:

Journal of Consumer Research


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