The easiest way to change your habits so you can live a healthier life
Living a healthy life doesn't come naturally to most people, even I have to work at it! However, we can all live a healthy life if we choose to; you just have to decide to change your habits.
On paper changing your habits sounds simple, but if you’ve ever actually tried to change your habits, you know that it’s more complicated than it looks. I want to give you the tools to change your habits so that you can accomplish your goals.
Know your why
As I said, making changes to your habits is not an easy thing to do. In order to truly change your habits, you need to know why you want to change.
Knowing why you want to live a healthier life is going to drive you when you would rather grab McDonalds then prepare a healthy meal for your family.
I believe that you really have to dig deep in order to discover your why, which is why I have my clients use the Five Whys method when they are trying to determine what is driving them to change.
It’s really simple, you start by asking yourself why you are making a change, and then, like a toddler, keep asking why - you do this at least five times. Here’s an example
“Why do I want to live a healthier life?” Because I want to fit into a smaller size of jeans.
“Why do I want to fit into a smaller size of jeans?” Because I will look better.
“Why do I want to look better?” Because then I feel better about myself.
“Why do I want to feel better about myself?” Because then I will be more confident and assertive.
“Why do I want to be more confident and assertive?” Because then I will be able to get what I want out of life.
In this example, you don’t really want to lose weight to fit into a smaller size of jeans. You want to lose weight so that you can get what you want out of life.
When it’s tempting to fall back into old habits ask yourself, is this what I really want out of life? If it’s not, your habits will change so that you are getting what you want out of life.
You can find your own why with this free Find Your Why Worksheet.
Make small changes over time
If you try to jump into working out for an hour every day for seven days a week after not doing anything, chances are you’re going to give up within the first few days. Change doesn’t happen over time. Small changes over time lead to lasting change.
In order to build up to an overall healthier lifestyle, you should focus on making small changes bit by bit. Instead of shooting to be 100% better than yesterday; aim to be 1% better. I refer to this as the 1% method.
Changing your mindset to the 1% method can be very helpful, especially for perfectionists because you aren’t expected to be perfect immediately. Instead, you just need to be a tiny bit better.
Say you want to start off by adding more vegetables to your diet. Start by adding one vegetable to one meal. Maybe you throw some spinach into your morning eggs. It wasn’t a drastic difference, but you did make a change towards your goal. Next, you add veggies to your lunches, dinners and even your snacks.
If you continue on this path, you’ll reach your goal without getting overwhelmed by a huge change. You also won’t beat yourself up if you don’t reach your goal every day. Maybe, you forgot to eat a vegetable as a snack, but you did manage to add veggies to your three main meals for the day. That is still a win! You still are doing better than you used to.
Believe that you can change
The biggest challenge in changing our habits is believing that we can actually do it. I talk to so many people who tell me that they won’t see results because they don’t have the will power or because being overweight is in their genes, or simply that it’s just too hard.
Change will only come if you believe it will and if you work for it. A goal is always achieved twice; once in the mind and once in the physical world.
Carol Dweck, a Stanford psychology professor, championed this theory, which is called Growth Mindset. A growth mindset changes your thinking from can’ts into cans. And notice I said “thinking.” If you think you can’t - even if you don’t say it out loud - it still impacts you.
The most important aspect of having a growth mindset is to figure out how you can succeed.
Don’t say: I’m not good at this. Do say: What am I missing to accomplish this?
Don’t say: It’s good enough. Do say: Was this my best effort?
Don’t say: This is too hard. Do say: This may take some time.
Don’t say: I made a mistake, I give up. Do say: Mistakes help me learn.
Instead of holding yourself back, trust that you can do hard things, then work for them.
If you need support in changing your habits and getting on a path to a healthier life, book a free discovery call with me and we can see where I can assist you on your journey.