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Any good weight loss plan will involve replacing old, unhealthy habits with new, positive ones. But as you may have already discovered, creating new habits isn’t easy! You can’t rely on willpower alone, because willpower only lasts so long. Instead, take these steps to creating new, lasting habits the smart way.
- Start small. It feels exciting to declare, “I’m going to run five miles every day!” or “I’m never eating anything bad again!”. But when you set lofty goals, it’s easy to become discouraged and quit after just one setback. Plus, large goals will meet with instant subconscious resistance, whereas smaller goals are easier to sneak under the radar. Instead, set smaller, more attainable goals, knowing that you will build upon them in time. Examples: or “I will do some form of exercise for at least thirty minutes every day” or “I will snack on fruit instead of foods from vending machines”.
- Utilize triggers. Piggyback your new habit onto an existing one. For example, if you always lay out the next day’s clothes on the night before, add workout gear to the pile. This will work whether you exercise first thing in the morning, or you’re packing it for an afternoon trip to the gym.
- Engage in your new habit early in the morning, if you can. If your new habit is to exercise, meditate, practice yoga, or something else daily, get it out of the way early in the day while your willpower is higher.
- Set up roadblocks. If your new resolution is to not do something (for example, eat packaged junk food), then don’t keep that item in the house. Instead of keeping spare change at your desk, for an emergency vending machine run, set up a fruit bowl.
- Prepare yourself. It’s hard to implement a new habit if you don’t have the tools you need to be successful. If you need a new pair of running shoes, go shopping. If you don’t stock your kitchen with healthy snacks, hit the grocery store. If you join a gym, choose one that falls close to your daily route to and from work.
- Give yourself a visual reminder. For each day that you engage in your new, healthier habit, mark an X on your calendar. This will serve as a reminder of how hard you have worked, and you will be discouraged from breaking your chain of success.