Are you someone who has ever failed at changing something about your life? *everyone in the world raises their hand* Yep, me too! This blog is for you! Read on.
Failed attempts at change are a great way to get discouraged and give up altogether. We see this a lot with participants in the past who have tried losing weight, drastically change their diet or get more active with other programs or on their own.
People feel like they’ve tried it all and instead of the failure landing on the program or the difficulty of a food plan, the individual takes the failure to heart. These failures then create “truths” like: “I’m lazy.” “I’m too busy.” “I’ve failed every time before so I’ll fail again.” “People like me don’t become healthy again.” “I’ve been told there’s nothing I can do besides wait for my condition to get worse.”
YIKES. These are harsh, mean and start to seep into every interaction and choice we make every second of every day.
So what’s the secret to being successful at habit change?
STEP 1: Become Aware of Your Stories and “Truths”
It takes a HUGE perspective shift. First, you must become aware of your stories and be willing to change them. This is where we find meditation incredibly helpful. With consistent practice, you start to notice the voice telling you these “not-so-sweet nothings” and can decide to not pay attention to it and, instead, focus on the present.
STEP 2: Get Real About Your Timeline
Building on that perspective shift comes a shift in the reality of what you’re getting yourself into. Here’s the deal. The change you want to make takes time. Like years. Not weeks or even months. You likely want to make a change that will stick and stops feeling so difficult to manage. This is TOTALLY possible, but we’ve got to change your timeline.
If you skip this step you won’t be prepared for the failures learning moments, the loss you may feel from changing a habit and the overall effort it will take to do this.
STEP 3: Rebuild Your Confidence
Once you are aware of the story and how it doesn’t have to be listened to, as well as adopted the reality that you are in this for the long haul, you must start to rebuild your confidence. Remember, you are aware of the story, but it also takes some proving it to yourself that you are not what the story is telling you beyond just being aware of it.
So how do you do that? SMALL STEPS ONLY. Let me explain. If you want to eat better, you don’t decide one day that you aren’t going to eat processed foods ever again. And that you will start cooking all your meals at home. Oh, and you’re also going to try being vegetarian because you’ve heard that’s great. And maybe even start keto while you’re at it too.
PUMP. THE. BRAKES.
You may see a million things you can do right now to make your situation better, but we are in this for the long haul, remember? This is where you take one of those ideas and break it down even smaller. Let’s take the processed food one. Instead of exiling all processed foods from ever entering your sacred body again, maybe you start with one or two items in your household and find something less processed to replace them with. For example, you decide that you will exchange your afternoon chip snack with some crunchy chickpeas instead. Or you will have chips three times this week versus the five times you had them last week. The trick is, make it so simple you can’t talk yourself out of it.
See, when you make changes super small to where it no longer feels overwhelming, you will do it. When you do what you said you would, you feel good. When you feel good, you want to do it again. When you do it again, you start to feel like it’s a no-brainer. When that happens, you pick another incredibly small thing to try and start the process over again. You may even gain the confidence to go a bit bigger since you’ve had so much success. Then before you know it, you’ve become healthier and you didn’t even realize it.
Yep. It’s slow-going, but I’m telling you this is what works. Try it. See what happens.
One last thing. Your simple step may sometimes get skipped. It’s okay. IT’S okay. IT’S OKAY. What’s not okay is the mental beratement you’ll put yourself through as a result. Accept that each of these moments is a learning moment, one that gets you closer to when you want to be.
What small step will you start today?