All of us want to live a healthy, fulfilling, and remarkable life, but it is so remarkably easy to fall into unhealthy routines.
There’s certainly no shortage of unhealthy and unproductive behaviors that we all struggle with them from time to time. Luckily every now and then something will motivate and inspire us to make a change.
However it is more than likely you’ll be doing the same thing a week from now or even 6 months from now rather than making that change “for the better”.
Why Is It So Hard To Create And Stick To Good Habits?
I believe that it is because we usually try to make changes in the wrong way. We so easily believe that we make a change in one defining moment and underestimate the value of making better decisions on a daily basis.
Almost every habit that you have — good or bad — is the result of the many small decisions you have made over time. Pretty scary thought, huh!
The desire to achieve results quickly fools you into thinking that the result is the prize.
But here’s the truth…
Becoming the type of person you want to become — someone who lives by a higher standard, someone who believes in themselves, someone who can be counted on— is about the daily choices you make.
Your Life Is The Sum Of Your Habits.
How in shape or out of shape you are? A result of your habits.
How happy or unhappy you are? A result of your habits.
How successful or unsuccessful you are? A result of your habits.
What you repeatedly do ultimately forms the type of person you are and the things that you believe in.
The most common mistake is just focusing on your transformation or becoming an overnight success, rather than concentrating on your regular habits and routines.
“Make it so easy you can’t say no.” ~Leo Babauta
How to get started….
1. Start with an incredibly small habit.
I want my morning habit to be ____ i.e. meditating in the morning.
Figure out the big picture of why you want this habit. What’s your motivation?
2. Take one step or action to achieve this goal.
Make it simple and repeatable. i.e. Set my alarm for 10 minutes earlier so I have time to meditate.
3. What is my cue going to be?
Tells your brain it is safe to go into auto pilot. i.e Alarm going off
Figure out the time, place, person, proceeding action. i.e. waking up
5. What is the reward?
It does need to be immediate. The routine can be the reward itself, but you have to acknowledge it. i.e. Feeling centered and at peace when I start my day.
Habits Make Losing Weight Easy
Over the years I’ve discovered the easiest way to lose weight for myself and my clients is to create a couple of healthy habits. For me these include:
- eating only when I am feeling hungry and stopping when I am satiated
- eating some protein for breakfast, having fresh vegetables delivered from a local farmer weekly (which translates into cooking more at home)
- drinking a green drink daily
- moving my body in some way every day, strength training 1 – 3 days per week
- eating my joy foods until they no longer taste orgasmic
- drinking lots of delicious iced or hot decaf teas to up my water take
- and most importantly check in with my emotions when I want to eat and I am not hungry.
I call these my Non-Negotiable Habits and if I am able to do them consistently I can pretty much eat whatever I want the rest of the time. But if I miss any of them for too many days in a row without compensating in some way my weight will start to creep upward.
The beautiful thing about habits is that once they are developed they work for you automatically, without much thought or willpower. This means that if you can acquire the right set of Non-Negotiable Habits, weight control will be fairly easy. How great is that?
By far the hardest part is being able to identify and then develop your Non-Negotiable Habits that work for you, both emotionally and logistically.
There needs to be enough of them to counteract all of your not-so-healthy habits (like eating when you are feeling a difficult emotion rather than checking in and dealing with it) and they need to be rewarding enough to develop into habits in the first place.
Once formed, however, your Non-Negotiable Habits are the ultimate secret to lasting weight control with ease.
Time For A Reward
Whatever habits you are trying to incorporate it is critical that you also create some sort of reward for yourself for following through on the new behavior.
The rewards can be very subtle like reading your favorite trashy magazine or sitting in the sauna after a workout. But if your new activity provokes a negative or even neutral emotional response it probably will not stick. So yes, you’re going to have to learn to enjoy being thinner and healthier. Tough, I know.
For more on habit building check out The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg).
Special Occasions Can Get You Off Track
Things can start to get tricky when you are thrown off your normal routine for an extended period of time. This is one reason the holidays can be so difficult. With travel and special occasions it’s easy to let cooking or exercise slip for a week or more. But when you return to your Non-Negotiable Habits, you easily put you back on track.
Of course, for non-negotiable Habits to work, you need to defend them. Birthdays, holidays and pressing work deadlines occur too often for you to rely on temporary diets or willpower to see you through your fitness weight loss goals.
When you have a set of Non-Negotiable Habits that you know you can depend on whenever you’re in your regular routine, these health-crushing events won’t be strong enough to have a significant impact on your weight.
Monitoring Your Non- Negotiable Habits
Because Non-Negotiable Habits are so essential, you shouldn’t trust yourself or your best intentions to maintain them. Track your activity and keep records to make sure your habits are working for you. Monitoring can be a Non-Negotiable Habit as well.
To keep myself honest, I weigh myself daily to track my weight. I know from experience that I fluctuate within a five pound window. If I start to veer outside of that I reexamine my Non-Negotiable Habits to make sure something isn’t being neglected.
To make sure I am on top of my difficult emotions that could lead to overeating, I write them down so I can see them and begin to loosen their grip on me.
Non-Negotiable Habits do not need to be the same for everyone. If you don’t like the gym, find some other activity that helps you be active and regularly move your body. If you don’t like to cook, find a few prepared meals (at restaurants, grocery stores or wherever) that are healthy and tasty.
Work on building the habit of stopping to really taste your food and stop when it no longer tastes amazing when you’re indulging in something sweet. This is how you develop mindful eating habits so you enjoy food more and are satisfied with less and makes weight loss easy.
What are your Non-Negotiable Court Habits? Need help creating them?
Call for a FREE consult with culinary nutritionist and weight loss specialist, Wendy Lynne.