Building Healthy Habits: A Guide for Busy Adults in Nashville

In the bustling lifestyle of Nashville, the demands of family, work, and social obligations often eclipse your own personal fitness and health desires. However, the journey towards better health doesn’t have to be daunting. By focusing on building new habits and reforming old bad habits, you can achieve a healthier, more balanced life – even while you juggle kids, jobs, and the never-ending To Do list!

Understanding Habit Building

When you’re trying to implement new healthier habits, you have to understand the habit loop:

Cue/trigger -> Craving/desire -> Response/action -> Reward

This process is the basis of all our habit formations.

Here are two examples of habits people often want to break:

1) Compulsive Phone-checking

Cue/trigger:  Smartphone notification

Craving/desire:  Curiosity or anticipation upon hearing the notification sound – want to know what it is!

Response/action:  Checking the smartphone to see the notification.

Reward:  Satisfaction — not only did we satisfy the desire to know, we often receive a good message or social validation, which further reinforces the behavior of checking the phone.

2) Stress Eating

Cue/trigger: Feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

Craving/desire: To feel better.

Response/action:  Eat junk food.

Reward:  Felt better for a few seconds while distracted by yummy junk food.

So in order to break a bad habit, all we have to do is insert a DIFFERENT RESPONSE/ACTION that gives us a similar reward.

Instead of junk food, you can snack on something healthier that tastes good. Greek yogurt instead of ice cream, Handful of berries instead of candy, crunchy raw vegetables instead of crunchy chips, etc.

Or an even better upgrade is to find something that rewards you that isn’t food!

Taking a short walk, reading something you enjoy, calling or messaging a friend, writing or journaling — anything that gives you personally a reward works well.

Make it happen!

And if you need our help doing so (shameless plug — seriously, it’s SO much easier with a quality coach!) just send us a note and we’ll find a time to chat.

healthy habits


Here are some more helpful tips for building healthy habits:

Start with Small Changes

The key to building sustainable health habits is to start small. Overwhelming yourself with drastic changes can lead to frustration and eventual burnout. (See How all-or-nothing thinking destroys you.)

Instead, integrate small, manageable changes into your daily exercise routine. For instance, if your ultimate goal is to spend an hour at the gym 5 days a week, start with three 20-minute after-dinner walks each week. This not only fits more easily into a hectic schedule, but also establishes a foundation of regular physical activity. Momentum is a powerful tool for change!

Nutrition is another crucial component of health habit-making. Begin by introducing one healthy meal a day, rather than trying to overhaul your entire diet overnight. A breakfast with oatmeal, fresh berries, and whey protein can kickstart your metabolism and keep you energized throughout the morning.

Small dietary adjustments are more sustainable and less intimidating, making it easier to stick to your goals.

Another small upgrade that works well is to bring a healthy lunch or snack to work.

Befriend Technology for Support

In today’s digital age, technology can be a valuable ally in building new habits. Numerous apps are available to track your food intake, monitor your exercise, and even remind you to drink water or stand up from your desk. Additionally, wearable fitness trackers can monitor your heart rate, sleep patterns, and activity levels, offering insights that help you understand your health better and make informed decisions.

These gadgets can make health tracking interactive and fun, but for Nashvillians who are serious about lasting change, a personal trainer or nutrition coach provides unmatched motivation, accountability, and support.

Setting Realistic Goals

Unrealistic goals can lead to disappointment and derail your motivation. Setting achievable goals is crucial. If your aim is to lose weight, set a realistic target of losing 1-2 pounds per week. You and your trainer can celebrate your small victories along the way to keep your spirits high. Remember, it’s not about perfection; it’s about making progress!

Create specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals that are realistic for your life. For example, instead of vaguely resolving to “be more active,” set a goal to “walk 5,000 steps daily during weekdays through end of the month.” This clarity helps to focus your efforts and measure what you’re actually doing.

Breaking Bad Habits

Breaking bad habits is just as important as forming good ones. Identify habits that hinder your health, such as smoking, excessive drinking, or spending too much time staring at screens. Awareness is the first step towards change. Try to understand the triggers that lead to these behaviors. Is stress from work leading you to overeat? Does boredom entice you to light up a cigarette? Addressing these triggers with your coach can help you break the cycle.


For the busy residents of Nashville, integrating new healthy habits and phasing out harmful ones can lead to profound positive changes in your health and well-being. Once you understand the habit loop, you can start to make improvements.

By starting small, using technology, setting realistic goals, breaking bad habits, and maintaining motivation and accountability, you can navigate the complexities of modern life without sacrificing your sanity. Remember, each small step can lead to significant benefits over time – baby steps add up!

contact personal trainer in nashvilleBasics and Beyond fitness & nutrition is Nashville’s flagship personal training service. We are standing by to help you build healthy habits, get strong, lose fat, and feel amazing!