How to Form Healthy Habits and Make Them Last

Chris Freytag by Chris Freytag | June 16th, 2009 | 7 Comments
topic: Fitness, Health & Wellness, Healthy Eating, Weight Loss


It takes about 60 days for a human to form a long-term habit, studies have shown. So why do so many Americans fail on their diet and exercise plans? They don’t give it two weeks, much less four. We are an instant-gratification society that wants quick results or forget it!

But we have a good three months of summer left. That’s plenty of time to set a goal of forming a healthy habit or two.

Be realistic and take small steps

Think about a habit you tried to help your kids learn. For example, brushing their teeth every night and morning, saying please and thank you, or putting dirty laundry in the hamper. I don’t know about you, but it took me more than two weeks to teach my kids to form the habit of brushing their teeth, and I actually still remind all three of them from time to time. So why then would we think that as adults we can change our eating habits or exercise routines overnight, without getting crabby or going crazy? What usually happens once we realize it isn’t as easy as we planned? WE GIVE UP!

Based on psychological studies, we need to be realistic and try to be consistent by taking baby steps. You can’t expect the texture and taste of whole grains to be instantly appealing if you are a Wonder Bread lover. You can’t expect to be a constant veggie muncher if you haven’t touched one without hollandaise in years. You can’t expect to run five miles a day if you haven’t run in five years. Making changes to your lifestyle habits takes time, and you need to do it gradually.

Start THIS summer by vowing to …

  • Take a morning or evening walk since there are more hours of daylight.
  • Eat five fruits and veggies a day with the abundance of fresh produce available.
  • Strength train two days a week.

You are the one in charge of creating your lifestyle habits, so remember it takes discipline, desire and time to see the results you are looking for. Use this summer to form a few new healthy habits!

Stay healthy,


Just Give it Two Weeks!  Check out my new book 2-Week Total Body Turnaround


  1. [...] can you do to start upgrading your lifestyle? Create better habits. Here are six things you can do today to seize the day and develop laser [...]

  2. Those same summer goals echo from my own. My bf and I have been doing really well with eating fresh veggies and fruit, but I have slacked on walks during the week. I even live next to a beautiful greenway! It’s a crime that I don’t it more.

    Thanks for the gentle nudge!

    Wayfaring Wanderer | June 24th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  3. I like your point of view about “you aren’t going to instantly start enjoying veggies if you have been eating them with hollandaise sauce your whole life!”

    Here’s another tip to share with your readers that goes over well when presented: Wakeup tomorrow and do as many situps as you possibly can before getting out of bed. Each day, try to do just ONE MORE. Soon you will have doubled, then tripled, then quadrupled your max!

    It’s fun, it’s simple… and it’s a great challenge. Enjoy!
    Jeff Hopeck

    Jeff Hopeck | June 24th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  4. [...] you don’t shift right away. Practice is the key. The more you practice anything, the more it will become a habit. Your pain is not who you are or what you have come to express. You are on this planet to share [...]

  5. [...] you eat, think and exercise dramatically affects your mood. You can break the cycle of unhealthy habits and learn to have it [...]

  6. Small steps is a term most people don’t wanna hear. INSTANT, unfortunately is more like a word people want to hear! That’s why all the “take a pill to lose weight” companies have been able to survive so long. It’s not because their products work, it’s because people are gullible …. thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Jeff Hopeck | May 21st, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  7. “How long does it really take to form a habit? Researchers from The University College London have done a rigorous study of habit formation (Lally, van Jaarsveld, Potts, & Wardle, 2010). They found that it took, on average, 66 days for a new habit to form. This is powerful information when contemplating a disciplined approach to any life changes we may want to make.
    The old adage about, “keeping your head down” until you reach your goal, was correct after all. The value of the initial repetitions is not to be seen through any progress we may have made, but simply by the number of repetitions we have performed. It is only appropriate to evaluate progress after the repetitions have been established – in this case, after about 10 weeks of a new eating lifestyle.”

    Excerpt From: Mike Stair. “200 calories Every 2 hours.” iBooks.

    mstair | May 17th, 2016 | Comment Permalink

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