How to Make Supplements a Habit That Sticks
“I have to remember to take my vitamins!”
The struggle can be real. How often have you looked at those bottles on your kitchen counter, said, “I need to take those,” and simply gone on with your day? It happens to all of us.
Adding nutritional supplements into your diet should be simple: take a few capsules, mix some powder into water, and drink. Easy peasy, right? Not always.
It can sometimes be challenging to integrate supplements into your daily routine. They’re easy to forget or lose in your pockets or bag, or maybe the capsules are difficult to swallow or more pills than you’re used to.
You might be like one of the many people who have at least one or more bottles of supplements with the best of intentions to take. Maybe you even started to see a difference in your health when you started them, but too soon, the bottle was abandoned and forgotten.
We all have a dozen or more reasons why we let our supplement routine slide to the wayside. But with a little groundwork laid in creating a new part of your daily health habits, you can keep these habits for the long run to get the most out of your supplements – and even reap the benefits long term. After all, that’s why we feel motivated to start a supplement routine: to better our own health.
The first place to start is by looking through the directions that come with your supplements. These will let you know how the manufacturer recommends taking them in order to get the best results (you can find Viome Precision Supplements™ full directions here).
Directions may tell you to take with food or without, how many capsules or tablets to take at one time, or the type of liquids a probiotic powder should be mixed into. Some may say to take in the morning, some at night before you to sleep. Others might even recommend the length of time you take them before noticing results.
But as long as you understand the guidelines on how to ingest your supplements - and when - you’re halfway to creating your healthy new habit.
Acclimating Your Body
On occasion, some supplements may take a little time for your body to get used to. When you’re starting anything new, including diet, exercise regimen, or new habit, it takes time for your body to learn and adjust to the process. If changing your supplement routine results in some digestive discomfort, know that this is completely normal and can easily be overcome with a few tips.
Decrease the daily dosage of the new supplement by half or quarters until your body acclimates, and you no longer feel discomfort. Then add back in portions of the supplement until you reach the full dosage that is recommended for the day.
Take your supplements with food, when directed. This will help your body to process them, potentially lessening any upset stomach feelings.
If you have trouble swallowing capsules, open them up, pour out the powder, and mix them into a smoothie or a snack. (Lifehack, with enough peanut or other nut butter, you can barely taste anything!)
Spread your supplements out over the course of the day. Taking them at breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner will give you convenient timing or in between meals if they are to be taken on an empty stomach.
Drink plenty of water when taking your supplements and over the course of the day. Water not only hydrates your body but also aids with digestion and helps prevent constipation.
Easing into your supplements and ensuring you get enough food and water can help get your body accustomed to taking them (we also have helpful tips for getting started with your Viome Precision Supplements here).
Making Health into a Habit
You bought your supplements because you want better health and longevity. Now–how do you remember to actually take them? Here are a few simple tricks to shortcut making your supplement habit a regular activity in your daily life:
Keep your supplement bottles, boxes, or individual sachets on the counter in your kitchen. Especially if your supplements should be taken with food, this helps by keeping them where you can see them, and help you remember at meal or snack times.
Keep a special supplement bowl or basket right on your kitchen table. Even easier to remember while you’re eating your meal!
Place your supplements in mini-containers or snack baggies for the week on the kitchen counter. That way, they're right there when you pack your lunch bag for school or work.
Set a daily recurring alarm on your smartphone to remind you to take them.
Download a reminder app and set it to ping you on your smartphone when it’s time to take them (two popular apps are Remember the Milk and TwoBird).
Separate out and organize your supplements into a weekly pill box and put it right in front of you on your desk at work (or at home).
Prefer to write out your daily to-do list on a notepad? Add it right there.
Place a sticky note on your bathroom mirror or kitchen cabinet.
Do you have another daily routine you never forget? Moisturizing your face? Making your morning smoothie? Daily journaling? Plan on taking your supplements at that time, also.
But sometimes "remembering" to take something isn’t quite good enough. Psychologist Charles Duhigg of MIT wrote in his book, The Power of Habit, three elements that can be consistently found in any habit that we have – cue, routine, and reward. So perhaps the best way to inspire real change in your supplement habits is to find your own unique "reward" system. This means finding ways of enjoying the perks of "good behavior" or, in this case - keeping up with your supplement routine.
So, how do you make taking your supplements enjoyable? By pairing it with something you look forward to each day. For some, maybe it’s that first cup of coffee in the morning. Set your supplements out for the next day adjacent to your coffee pot and reward yourself with a fresh cup only after you’ve taken them. You can also pair your supplements with a piece of dark chocolate - an excellent incentive to keep up with your routine. Or consider this: writing down a new note to yourself each night, a few words of affirmation, or maybe a compliment (think positive fortune cookie!) to give you a boost of dopamine when you take your supplements.
There are dozens of ways to build a healthy reward system unique to your needs - so think about ways to balance out immediate positive feelings with your supplement routine - and if need be, you can always partner up. Find a friend, family member, or life partner and motivate each other with good supplement behavior. Soon enough, you’ll feel inspired each day to keep up with your supplements and reap their benefits in no time!
Another good reason to remember to take your supplements–your body needs them!
You may be eating whole, healthy, natural foods every day, but might be experiencing difficulty getting or absorbing all the precise nutrients that your body needs. It’s true! Even a healthy diet doesn’t always provide the exact nutrition that you need for your unique biology. This can be from a number of factors such as unique deficiencies stemming from your cellular health, all the way to the natural depletion of nutrients contained in commercial farmland soil. Because of these variances, at least 1 in 10 Americans has some form of nutritional deficiency.1
The right supplements are meant to fill in those gaps and give you a complete nutritional solution to support key areas of health like gut microbiome, cellular, mitochondrial health, and longevity.*
You’re eating your Viome recommended Superfoods, staying away from your Avoid and Minimize foods, and throwing in a bunch of Enjoy foods to get a wide variety of nutrients. This is a wonderful first step on your health journey. But if you’re looking for the next great leap toward optimal health, starting a supplement routine to fit your needs can help close those gaps we are all bound to have.
For example, some specific nutrients that come from a food on your Avoid or Minimize list might be hard to get elsewhere in your diet. Or, the amount of a nutrient you need comes from too large an amount of a food to eat within one day. Could you eat ten onions daily if you needed 350mg of quercetin?
Rather than deprive yourself of the incredible bioactive compounds that make up the vitamins and minerals you might be lacking, or even gambling by consuming those ‘Avoid’ foods harming your gut - starting a supplement routine can help you stick to your recommendations and give you the needed support to close all your nutrient gaps.
When you optimize your diet, you’re halfway to giving your body exactly what it needs to perform at its best. But when you’re ready to take function to performance, including a variety of key vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, botanical extracts, prebiotic fiber, and even specific strains of bacteria specific to you - you could be gaining that next level of health your body deserves.
1 Peters, S. (2019). [Common nutritional deficiencies in US]. usatoday.com.