9 Great Habits to Jumpstart Your Health

January resolutions are peculiar things. A lot of the time you talk the talk and have no trouble thinking about your hopes and intention. But then you find it hard to walk the walk, and you give up or get distracted before you get the results that you really want. Each year it’s kind of the same – you start with a bright and shiny goal to reach, but in most cases your efforts soon fizzle out.

Or maybe they don’t. Maybe you’re a woman (or man) of action who always finds their way. And if your goal is to address some aspect of your health, you ALWAYS work things out. 

Then again, you might flip between the two, with an equal mixture of success and fizzling, but no clear idea how things are going to pan out.

That’s SOO frustrating. 

But differences like these are also very interesting and deserve a closer look.

Why is it that sometimes you can get into a new groove and steam straight ahead with the changes you want to make, while at other times your old habits form a trap that is, literally, impossible to escape?

More importantly, is there a way to set yourself up for success, so that you can revamp your old habits and start practicing healthier new ones without your efforts fizzling out?


I believe there are a combination of factors that the most successful people work with. They have a secret sauce for success. More on this in a moment.



Before I go further with this secret sauce talk, let’s start with a look at the 9 great habits to jumpstart your health. 

Habit 1 Stretch and flex in the morning – start each day with deep breaths, a good stretch and a calm mind.

Habit 2 Eat a balanced breakfast – aim for fewer sugary carbs and more wholegrains and fibre.

Habit 3 Throw away, sell or gift unused items – get rid of clutter that trips you up and weighs you down.

Habit 4 Make time for lunch – use this pitstop to refuel and fill up on brain-boosting good fats.

Habit 5 Exercise daily – move it or lose it as they say. A 20 minute walk is enough.

Habit 6 Make space and time to be creative – exercising your brain and solving problems keeps you mentally flexible and youthful.

Habit 7 Eat a nourishing dinner – a protein-rich meal is great for your health feeding you essential building blocks to power sleep, the immune system and your general health.

Habit 8 Get to bed and sleep at a regular hour – rest and recovery is incredibly important, especially when the day brings unexpected challenges.

Habit 9 Drink appropriate amounts of water throughout the day

All clear? Then off you go.



If you’re not already doing this and you want to make some changes, I totally agree – getting this down pat takes more than having a checklist to follow.

So, let’s go back to the original question and consider the difference between finding your groove and having your efforts fizzle out.

How do you successfully turn a checklist of health into healthy new habits which are an everyday part of your life?

Is success related to having simple, step-by-step actions to take? Could it be down to sheer willpower alone? Is it easier to keep on going when you have someone who’s got your back? How do you stay motivated – does it help to imagine other people who will benefit too?

When it comes to breaking old habits and making healthier new ones, I believe ALL of  above points should be considered.

Achieving successful habit change isn’t only about your willpower and effort. You need to add in your secret sauce.



Consider the following 4 questions. (These are the types of questions a health coach or nutritional therapist will ask you. They know that everyone has their own unique secret sauce recipe.)

  • WHY is making this particular change valuable to you?
  • WHO do you trust to have your back?
  • WHAT will you do differently?
  • What will encourage you to do this over and over again?


Let’s use Habit 9 (drinking enough water) to illustrate this more clearly.



New Habit: I want to drink enough water each day of the week

This might seem very simple, but in reality it’s something many people struggle with. In the past I have too.

Like me, you must know how important it is to drink enough water throughout the day. But sometimes life gets in the way. For instance, I found that I was happily glugging away at the weekend, but whenever I was at work it all went a bit sideways. I  knew I was thirsty. I knew I needed to have a drink. Yet somehow my bottle or glass of water remained untouched. I did notice the difference too – dry throat, dry skin, feeling sluggish during the day, waking up thirsty in the middle of the night – yet this wasn’t enough to get me to take action.

Imagine you’re in the very same situation. What would need to happen for you to create a new habit of regularly drinking water throughout your day?



Planning to change: This is where your secret sauce comes into play, so consider each question in turn

  • WHY is making this particular change valuable to you?

You would question why this effort to change is important to you. For example, do you value general health or perhaps beauty? Do you want to sleep better and feel more rested? Do you want to set a better example of a healthy lifestyle for your kids?

  • WHO do you trust to have your back?

Having a support network is essential to staying on track.  You’d consider if you could rely on a ‘water drinking buddy’ at work. There may even be someone you could quietly compete with instead.

  • WHAT will you do differently?

This is where you figure out the step-by-step actions needed and remove any potential obstacles.

Imagine your goal is to drink 1.5litres of water daily. You plan to use a 500ml reusable water bottle that you drink from and refill twice a day.

– Do you have a bottle or do you need to buy one?

– What times of day will you have a drink? (This could be: on arrival; at 11am; shortly after lunch; when you stretch your legs at 3pm; just as you’re leaving the office; as you turn onto the street where you live)

– What time of day will you refill it? (How about at lunchtime and before you go home for work.)

– Where will you keep it? (In plain sight on your desk is probably better than hidden in your bag.)

– When will you clean it? (As soon as you get home it could be washed, refilled and put in the fridge, ready to take to work the next day.)

  • WHAT is your reward?

Finally there is the reward factor to add to the mix. The little surge of delight that will keep you coming back for more. How can you make this new habit a lot more FUN?

Often setting alarms can be enough to jolt you into action, but apps can be useful and much more fun. ‘Plant Nanny’ is a current favourite, where each glass of water you drink is recorded and keeps the little plant in your care alive. There’s also a hidden message, just like this flower you need water to thrive too!


Creating new habits can seem a bit hit and miss at times. But there are ways to improve your outcomes, like knowing WHY your efforts are valuable, having extra support, a step-by-step plan to keep you on track, and a small reward which encourages you further. In fact, this understanding can be applied to any health plans you have in mind and makes the secret sauce for your success.

Imagine turning these 9 Great Habits to Jumpstart Your Health into more than a checklist. What if they become your 9 great habits that you do day after day, without fail?



Jamie Street
Ho Chi Minh
Jessica Felicio
Joan Tran
Hello I’m Nik

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