In this episode we will talk about how to create lasting behavior change including: figuring out where are you at, finding your why, being consistent, and focusing on and reviewing your behavior.
Want to make a lasting change? Five ways to get you started.
By: Tricia Stefankiewicz, MA RDN
Oftentimes, when we make the decision to change a behavior or to something differently, we start the behavior abruptly without thinking how to make the change permanent and everlasting. Today we will explore some ways to make these changes for a lifetime by figuring out where are you at, finding your why, being consistent, and focusing on and reviewing your behavior.
Do you want to make a lasting behavior change? How will you start. What do you need to know?
#1 Where are you at right now in your life?
Where are you on your health journey? Are you contemplating that you want to make a change? Are you having a hard time moving around? Are you still trying to lose your baby weight? Is life passing your by so quickly that you are in a constant state of survival mode never taking any time for yourself? Are you ready to make these important changes or do you need more time to decide that you want to make this change? What will it cost you to maintain your current level of health? What will you be missing out to continue where you are at? This question is not meant for you to judge yourself, but more to see where you are and where you want to be.
#2 – What is your WHY? Why do you want to make healthy changes?
Why is it important to make these health changes? Are you scared of getting diabetes or heart disease?? Do you want to be able to play with your kids? Do you want to have more energy? Do you want to look better in pictures? Why do you want to make a change? Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a lifelong process that requires consistency and commitment. Motivation comes and goes. It is not steady- its ever changing. Defining your WHY will keep you going when it gets hard. It will allow you to have clarity on the steps you need to take to make that change happen. This will also help you identify and core beliefs you have that will inspire you to maintain action.
Some questions to think about:
- What is your why? This will help keep you motivated and tap into this feeling when you are struggling
- How would your life look different if you made the change you desire?
#3 – Consistency Counts
Making a commitment every single day to work on your health goal is necessary for long term success. Most of us have done this weight loss thing before. We have jumped on and off the diet bandwagon, whether it’s the tried and true weight loss programs or the new fad diets, we have done it. Most of us KNOW what to do. We just don’t do it. We may do the behavior for a short period of time but then repeatedly stop doing the very things we know we need to do to make the change. We are NOT consistent. The goal is to try most days to achieve your goals over time. These behaviors are so consistent that they become a lifestyle and are no longer considered to be a diet that you need to follow. Consistently practicing the same behavior frequently will help you feel more in control of your health and provide confidence and momentum in your ability to achieve your goals.
#4 – Focus on your BEHAVIOR
Focus on the behavior you want to achieve not the outcome
Focus on the BEHAVIOR you want to achieve for the month. Not the outcome. Behavior is something that we can engage in consistently that gives us satisfaction. The outcome is something that comes later, it’s a further away goal. Monitoring your BEHAVIOR is something that is more controllable and much more measurable on your way to achieving the goal. It’s hard to maintain consistent motivation with something that feels so far way. The BEHAVIOR you practice will ultimately be the thing that over time helps you get the outcome you want. Practicing new BEHAVIOR will provide you will a sure-fire way of achieving your goals. Focus on what BEHAVIORs you can do to achieve your goal. This should be a tiny step to help you build upon and achieve your bigger goal.
Some BEHAVIOR examples include:
- I will exercise XX times this week – outcome: more fit, better able to move
- I will log my food XX times this week – outcome: weight loss
- I will eat XX fruits/veggies this week – outcome: feel more energized
- I will meditate XX times this week – outcome: calmer, better able to handle stress
Focus on what BEHAVIOR goal you want to achieve this week. Break this goal down into smaller, achievable daily steps that you can take to achieve your bigger goal/outcome. Start small. Don’t set goals that you know you will not be able to achieve. Set goals that you know you can commit to and easily achieve this week. Set a DOABLE behavior goal that you can easily achieve and then build upon each week.
#5 Review your behavior
At the end of the week, review your goals without judgment. What worked for you? What was hard this week? What things do you need to change to streamline to make it easier? Developing habits happen over time. They need to be practiced over and repeatedly. Reviewing your behavior will help you see patterns and set realistic expectations of what you can achieve. This process will allow you to formulate a plan that works best for you so that can maintain your health for the long term.
Whole Health is not an impossibility but only you can make it happen. It will require you to dig deep, and be uncomfortable It is not about being perfect, it’s about being 1% better each day. Let’s fail forward together.