The Blog

How to Build a Habit That Sticks

I’ll never forget the smell of carrots.

I stood at our kitchen counter in front of the juicer. I flipped the switch to hear the loud humming from the cream-colored machine. I grabbed a one-pound bag of full-size carrots out of the fridge. Chop! I cut the ends of 4 large carrots all at once with a long butcher knife. I did this over and over with carrots in groups of 3’s and 4’s until the bag was empty.

I tossed them all into the green plastic colander we kept in the sink, and swished them under a fast-moving stream of cold water.

Time to juice.

The machine whirred loudly, and then suddenly created a sharp cutting sound that was like a mini machine gun firing as I pushed carrot after carrot down into the machine. I watched as the juice began at first to foam up, and then rapidly spill out of the spout and into the large clear glass next to it.

By the time I was done, my fingers were orange and they reeked of pungent carrot.

I handed the full 12 ounces of rusty-orange-almost-red colored carrot juice to my mom. This would be her third glass of the day. I don’t ever recall her once complaining about the way I only imagined it tasted.

Juicing carrots for my mom was my after-school job when I was 12 years old. After my mom’s breast cancer diagnosis in 1996, she went through rounds of chemotherapy, only to suffer horrible effects of the consequential damage that it caused to her healthy white blood cells.

It was later in her treatment that she’d had enough, and she made the choice to go holistic.

The multiple glasses of carrot juice per day was only the tip of the holistic iceberg. She changed everything about our family’s daily habits almost overnight – from emptying the pantry of sugar, to making sure we got some vitamin D from the sunshine every day.

But the smell of carrots is what I remember most. It’s been more than twenty-five years since I juiced those carrots. But to this day, it’s part of my story I’ll never forget. It’s a reminder to me on my own health journey – every time I grab that slice of pizza I’m craving, or just one small bowl of ice cream (my weakness).

There are some days I don’t think about the carrots. But on other days, days like today, when I went to the gym for the second time this week (a first in a long time), I think about my mom, and how going holistic was the best decision for her and our family at the time. It’s had a life-long impact on decisions about my own health.

With four boys of my own, and a hubby that I fully intend to live a long full life with, why on earth would I not take charge of my own health? Proactive prevention is the best way to ward off any disease, right?

“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instruct his patients in care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

Thomas Edison

I want to be healthy for my own sake, as well as my family’s. I want to create good habits that will serve me for hopefully many healthy years to come.

But building these good habits is HARD. It takes work, effort, planning, and intention.

BUT – I’m discovering that there is one MAJOR factor when it comes to building a habit that sticks. It’s funny, because I’m sure I’ve read it somewhere. I’ve read books like Atomic Habits – which are amazing – but then it’s a whole different ballgame when you begin to experience and implement the principles for yourself.

What about you?

Are you struggling to make habits stick? Here’s the number one way I’m learning to ensure success: enjoy what you’re doing!

For example, when it came to working out, I tried so many different classes at my gym or tried to do my own thing at home, and realized that I didn’t enjoy it much, and was trying to force myself into creating this habit.

Not that working out is what I’d actually categorize as “fun,” but all my efforts didn’t include things I recall enjoying when I was younger, such as: running, having a coach encourage me, and being in a small group.

Inevitably, all of the things I had tried only led to frustration and me giving in to pretty much any excuse I could think of at the time. (Oh darn, I’ve GOT to do [insert any excuse here] today…maybe I’ll workout tomorrow.)

But when I recently found a workout class that I genuinely love, EVERYTHING has changed! It had a cardio aspect, and it was in a small group setting with a coach that could give me the attention I need and encouragement to push through. I LIKED working out for the first time in a LONG time. I’m even looking forward to the next class – even though I know it’ll kick my butt.

The great news is – this is the same key principle for ANY habit – whether you’re trying to build a new habit for your health, your work, or your family life.

But what about breaking bad habits, Jess?

I love how Pastor Steve Backlund puts it: “True transformation occurs when the negative is replaced with the positive. Simply eliminating wrong things will not bring lasting results.”

The secret lies in finding JOY in the process of building a good habit. Yes, it will take time. You’ll need to explore and try out new things, but it’s worth it. Because pretty soon, you’ll be able to clearly determine what you don’t like and find the things you do enjoy doing. Imagine instead of dreading your habits, you’ll actually look forward to them!

That’s why I’m inviting you to join me for a habit-building challenge over these next 30 days. Let’s explore together, discover what brings us joy, and build one new healthy habit that sticks for the long haul!

Are you an author struggling to build a habit of writing every day? Try writing in a new environment. Or light a special candle that you only burn during your writing session.

Are you wanting to eat healthier? (Don’t we all!) Try out new recipes! Discover new tastes that you enjoy. Bonus fun if you crank up the tunes while cooking it up in the kitchen.

Are you wanting to create a new habit of spending quality time with your kiddo? Try different kinds of games together and see what you both enjoy. Or maybe they’re more outdoorsy – visit a new park in your area and go on an adventure. Ask yourself – did you enjoy it? Was it FUN? Block out time in your calendar to do that activity again next week.

I’m ready for more FUN – aren’t you?! Life’s too short to not put enJOYment into our habits that shape our lives.

Are you ready to transform your approach to habits? Visit my recent IG post and drop a 💪 in the comments if you’re in! Let’s create positive change together!

And if you’re feeling overwhelmed wondering how the heck you can fit a new habit into your already busy schedule – don’t worry – I’ve got just the thing!

Grab my FREE Time-Savvy Supermom Guide that includes my top 5 shortcuts to help you take back your time AND take care of yourself & your family in the process.

Click here to get your FREE guide now.

Dive into this depth-filled guide to help you reclaim your time and actually enjoy it—no more overwhelm or mom-guilt allowed!

Sound good? Leave a comment with what good habit you’re going to build. I can’t wait to see your transformation over these next 30 days together!

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