Making Good Habits for Life
Achieving a healthy weight is a process not a one off event. Likewise, making changes to long standing habits is also a process.
Before you can start changing any habits it is important to know which habits you want to change and what you want to change them to. Once you decide on this you can start taking the actions that will get you there.
Decisions about which habits you want to change as well as the timing and pace of change are YOURS to make. Only you can decide when you are ready to change and at which pace you are able to make the changes.
In broad terms there are four stages in making change:
- Setting Goals
- Getting Started
- Keeping it Going (Maintaining Motivation)
Change begins with reflection on ourselves and our habits.
Start by looking at your positive AND negative habits with regard to your level of physical activity, eating, physical health and motivation. Then identify the important areas where you have good habits AND the important areas where you have poor habits (unimportant things can be overlooked for the time being).
Then focus your attention on the poor habits and decide on which ones you would like to improve.
(It goes without saying that you can’t let your existing good habits slip in the attempt to improve current poor habits)
Once you have decided on the habits to improve, you will need to set some goals which will define exactly what you would like to achieve. These goals should be really important to you and something that you can be passionate about.
They should also be SMART:-
- Time bound
Try to focus on positive actions rather than negative actions e.g. set your goal as “eat fruit for dessert” rather than setting your goal as “don’t eat cake for dessert”, otherwise your focus is drawn away from what you are specifically aiming to achieve.
For major long term goals it is a good idea to break them down into "bite-sized" pieces which you can achieve in a reasonable time frame (even setting yourself goals for a single day is OK). This approach will make the long term goal more manageable and you can enjoy the process of achieving the short-term “bite-sized” goals and celebrating accordingly.