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An expert’s guide to building habits


Developing healthy habits is important for leading a holistic athletic lifestyle, but making them stick isn’t always easy.

Studies have proven that it typically takes 21 days for a certain behavior to become a habit, but another two months for this habit to become an unconscious part of our daily routine. So how can you turn an action into a habit? Here are well-being expert Liora Bels’ top tips:

  • Start by defining your intention and motivation. What do you want to achieve or change? And how much do you want this? You’re more likely to achieve realistic goals.

  • Take a note of what inspires you. Whether it’s an article, a social media post or another Free Athlete, knowing what it is that motivated you to seek change will help to keep you strong when the going gets tough.

  • It’s more effective to establish habits that are right for you and your lifestyle. Don’t just choose a goal because somebody else does: think about what you need and what is most realistic. Make small but effective changes; over time, these will trigger other behavioral changes.

  • Don’t be demoralized if you slip. Allowing yourself to stumble occasionally isn’t a problem, as long as you can recognize when it’s occurring and know what you have to do to stay on track. Overcoming obstacles is what make us stronger. Always keep the bigger picture in mind, and if it’s not a picture you want to head towards, you may want to reconsider your goal.

  • Congratulate yourself regularly. No matter how small the milestone, being mindful and aware of your achievements is a great way to keep your motivation up.

  • After 21 days, you’re likely to have formed a new habit. But even at this point, remember to check in with yourself often - you don’t want to slip back into old behaviors and undo your hard work.

Let’s recap:

Commitment, discipline and repetition are the cornerstones of building new habits, but that’s not all. Staying positive, mindful and recognizing achievements are all key parts of the habit-building process.