By Lindsey Joe, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist


Healthy habits are like money—we want more, but sometimes we don't want to put in the work that's required.


Instead of beating yourself up for not having enough "willpower" or "discipline," consider switching your approach. Set yourself up for success instead of defaulting to self-defeat mode. This means putting in some time on habit formation.

When it comes to behavior change, there are a few factors that set the achievers apart from those who fall short of their goals. Which of these qualities can you work to incorporate into your healthy living mindset?

Cultivate qualities of healthy heroes 

  1. They practice kindness—with themselves. Slip-ups are to be expected. (Life is unpredictable, after all.) But instead of beating themselves up for "failing," people with healthy habits tend to talk back to their negative thinking with positive thoughts that help them move forward. Print these motivating mantras to get that positivity flowing!

  2. They just keep swimming. When the going gets tough, the tough keep going! Sometimes life's challenges hit us all at once. But instead of throwing in the towel during difficult times, people with healthy habits make a point to press onward, even just an inch at a time. It's the ultimate form of self-care.
  3. They feel the fear and do it anyway. Let's be honest: embarking on new things, especially things that challenge our old habits, can be intimidating. But instead of shying away from a daunting opportunity, people with healthy habits seize the moment. If you try it, you might be surprised at how capable you really are.

  4. They get back on the horse ASAP. We all experience breaks in our routine due to things like holidays, vacations, work trips, and even illness. As much as they can help it, people with healthy habits don't allow temporary lapses to turn into weeks, months, or years. They get back to their healthy lifestyles as soon as possible.

  5. They focus on what works for them. No matter what the latest craze is, people with healthy habits are dedicated to discovering what works for them (not against). Then they stick with it. This strategy involves some trial and error, but it promises long-lasting results.

Share the healthy habit you're most of proud of using #healthyliving!

Establish healthy habits with the Y

Healthy habits happen one day at a time. Start by setting SMART goals. Tackle your biggest obstacles with these 5 steps, and don't forget to celebrate each success along the way. We love partnering with members on their healthy living journeys. Get more information on YMCA memberships and health and fitness programs at your local YMCA fitness center near you.