7 Ways to Get in a Healthy Routine

leaf Dr. Lauren Hacker Wellness First Clinic Naturopathic Doctor Denver
Woman enjoying a healthy lifestyle

Ready to change your life and get into a healthy routine?

Follow these 7 steps!

1. Decide to give yourself grace

Woman meditating on outdoor patio.

Before you get into the to dos, decide to give yourself grace.

Getting healthy is important and starting a new routine can be exciting. But it’s also hard. There’s going to be a lot of new things to try and figure out. It’s okay if you don’t get it perfect overnight. In fact, your health is supposed to be a lifelong journey. 

As you start this new adventure, give yourself permission to make a few missteps. If you take it too seriously and set impossible expectations, you’ll find yourself discouraged. The biggest obstacle to a new routine is negative self-talk. 

So before you start making plans, remind yourself — even if it’s out loud! — why you’re doing this. It’s all about living your life to the fullest. Then with that attitude in mind, it’s time to take your next step.

2. Start small

Woman going for a walk

When you first sit down to plan out your routine, chances are you’re pretty motivated.

You have the excitement that comes with making healthy changes and dreaming of big results.

But the truth is that big changes often minimize results. 

Think of New Year’s resolutions. Every year people make grand plans on how they’re going to revolutionize their lifestyle. But come February, 80% of them have given up.

What happens? Well, because the changes they try to make are so dramatic, they aren’t long-lasting.

When the inspiration and excitement wear off — and they will — things that don’t “fit” in your life will drop.

So instead of trying to make big changes all at once, take small steps to get in a healthy routine.

Add one new thing to your routine at a time. Go for a walk in the morning. Repeat one positive thing about yourself everyday. Or grow your relationship with your partner with a six second kiss.

These changes might seem small but that’s the point! They’re what James Clear calls “atomic habits” — little things that can make a huge difference over time. Even if it’s just a one-percent difference, incremental changes can build to make you healthy for a lifetime. 

3. Make it fun

Woman having fun cooking

Many people think of a healthy routine as a necessary evil. But there’s no reason it has to be!

In fact, the more fun you can have with it, the more likely you are to stick to it.

Commit to bringing joy to your routine. If you hate running, choose playing a sport or dancing around your living room for exercise instead. Rather than eating salad all day every day, discover new smoothie recipes or explore healthy dishes from a different country.

Be creative and plan little rewards for when you hit a goal. 

4. Invite others into it

Women participating in a group fitness class.

Sure, it’s easier to get into a healthy routine when it only involves you. But getting healthy on your own is a lot less fun and it’s actually less successful.

Human beings are wired to connect with others. Over the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us just how important connection is. We are at our best when others are involved in our lives. So as you develop a routine, find ways to invite other people into it. 

It could be as easy as taking group classes at the gym or cooking a meal with your spouse. Text a friend and ask them to keep you accountable. The extra accountability will make it easier to maintain good habits.

And because relationships are crucial to our wellbeing, you’ll wind up healthier

Be intentional about creating time for friends and family as part of your health routine. Get in the habit of regular girls night outs or take time alone with your significant other. The Gottman Institute shows how simply learning to “turn toward” your partner can make you and your relationship healthier.

Don’t just assume that because you’re around people, you’re really relating to them. Your routine should create space for you to be known and loved.

5. Monitor your inputs

Woman looking at social media on her phone.

When people try to get in a healthy routine, they often focus on what they should do. They manage their outputs. 

But it is equally important to monitor your inputs and be careful of what things enter your mind.

Some news and social media might be helpful in small doses, but they can also be harmful if left unchecked. Likewise, some people encourage and inspire you to be better. But others bring negativity that holds you back. 

If you want to be healthy, you need to monitor the media you consume and the thoughts that you entertain in your mind. Again, remember that self-talk is important here! What you put in, ultimately determines what comes out. So be sure you’re nourished by things that are helpful.

6. Tailor your routine to you

Woman stretching and doing an online yoga class.

Many times other people inspire us to get healthy. We read about a celebrity who has an incredible health regimen or know a fellow parent whose productivity blows us away.

While there is much we can learn from others, be careful that you don’t just copy exactly what they do.

Certain things may work for others that don’t fit into your lifestyle. And that’s okay!

It is more important that you have a routine that accounts for your unique personality, passions and priorities. 

Tailor your routine to your life and you’ll be more likely to stick with it.

7. Don’t be afraid to experiment

Woman experimenting in the kitchen.

If you’re trying to get in a healthy routine, remember that you don’t have to get it all right the first time.

It might take a little trial and error to figure out what makes the most sense for you.

Give yourself the freedom to try things out and remember that there’s no one way routines have to look. You don’t have to follow a crash diet or lug yourself out of bed for 5am workouts. You can have fun hula hooping with your kids or reading a book with your spouse. Try napping in a hammock or taking the stairs at work. 

Some things might work well for you and some things might not. That’s okay! You’ll never know until you give something a chance. So try something new and if it doesn’t work, it’s okay to change your approach. These little experiments help you discover a healthy routine you can follow for years. 

And remember, give yourself grace if you don’t immediately get it perfect. Putting your wellness first is a lifestyle and the results are well worth the time it takes to figure things out.