By Lindsey Joe, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Let's be honest. Sometimes you just don't feel like making healthy choices or going to boot camp class after a long day. But there's no denying it: an essential part of changing old behaviors and creating healthier habits is consistency. After all, new habits don't form overnight, just as those old habits didn't either.

We’ve already talked about how to set goals that stick and overcome obstacles along the way. So today, let’s look at ways to persevere with your new healthy habits.

When striving for new goals, it's important to have a "checks and balances" system in place to better evaluate how you are (or aren't) doing. First, ask yourself these simple questions:

  • What changes have I made so far?
  • What benefits have I experienced from making these changes?

Whenever you're feeling a bit rebellious about continuing on, this practice will help you keep your eyes fixed on the prize. Next, take advantage of other tips and tricks to help you put one foot in front of the other.

7 additional ways to stay on track with your goals

  1. Remember your motivation. Think about what specifically made you embark on this whole journey in the first place. Do you remember the day you set your goal? How did you feel? What did you hope for yourself? Sometimes we need to reflect back in order to move forward.

  2. Keep visible signs of your progress. Tracking your progress (whether with a good ole pen and paper or a smartphone app) helps you stay consistent with your new healthy habits. Being able to see the steps you've taken, victories achieved, and obstacles overcome also pushes you mentally to keep going.

  3. Don't let temporary "lapses" turn into full blown "relapses." Falling off the wagon is perfectly normal and to be expected. Jump back on! You cannot undo all your progress with one "cheat meal" or by skipping a workout. So don't waste time beating yourself up over it. Channel that energy into evaluating why the lapse occurred and how you can prevent it from throwing you off in the future.
  4. Find inspiration in others. Hearing how others have overcome similar setbacks can reinvigorate your dedication to stick with your healthy habits. Check out these inspiring Y members who have struggled and succeeded in reaching their goals.

  5. Celebrate your success! No achievement is too small. Recognizing what you can do keeps you motivated, and giving yourself little rewards along the way is an effective catalyst for change. Here are some simple ways you can celebrate your successes: download a new workout playlist, enjoy a massage or take a selfie and show off.

  6. Reach out to your support system. Whether it's coming from your spin class squad, a family member or a new Y friend, the encouragement of others is sometimes all we need to keep going.

  7. Mix things up a bit. Maybe you're tired of the healthy lunch you've been packing for the last two months or you're getting bored with your typical exercise routine. Mix things up with an interesting new recipe or one of our many group exercise classes

The most important thing to remember about being successful in your new habits is to not throw in the towel. You CAN do it. And we'll be with you every step of the way. Go get ‘em!

Establish Healthy Habits with the Y

Ready for a healthier lifestyle? Get more information on YMCA memberships and health and fitness programs at your local YMCA fitness center near you.