Re-shaping your life through the removal of bad habits and the introduction of positive habits is an excellent goal. For the most part we are all aware of our bad habits, but few have the will power to make and/or sustain change. This can be due to a number of reasons (or excuses) and I would like to tackle this issue by sharing my point of view and suggesting methods for making positive changes permanent.
First off, trying to change everything all at once will likely set you up for failure. I’ve spoken to dozens of people who claimed to have lost weight just to gain it all back. They go on to tell me that they gave up all their favourite junk foods, went on a “special diet”, kept up with exercise, and saw success. However, old habits eventually came creeping back along with the weight.
Frustrating isn’t it? To work so hard, just to end up where you started. From my point of view good things take time, and changing multiple components of your life at once results in stress and the return of old habits. Instead, why not take on one thing at a time? Start small and build from there. For example, if you drink soft drinks and juice every day, start here. Replace it with water and work on keeping that up until the craving for high sugar drinks have vanished (and they will). It is then you can move on to your next challenge towards a better you.
Be realistic, I am not insinuating that you are incapable of making multiple changes at once, I am simply suggesting that you come to terms with the weight of your bad habits and prepare accordingly. Through small successes larger ones are accomplished, and the longer one can maintain change the more likely it will become habit.
The Transtheoretical Model’s 5 stages of change suggest the time span of 6 months before one should consider themselves in the maintenance phase of change. However, it is important that we are aware of situations that may tempt us to return to old behaviours, because as with any addiction relapse is always possible.
This brings me to my next point, we must get to know ourselves and understand why we do the things we do. Are there social situations, or stresses that provoke us towards negative behaviours, including poor food choices? If you can recognize these things the chance of success increases considerably. Learn how to control your mind; don’t let your mind control you.
You will make mistakes and screw up a few times, but don’t let this deter you from trying. If you caved at lunched and couldn’t help but drink that large soft drink, it’s okay! However, don’t use this as an excuse to keep screwing up; forget about it and get back on that healthy bandwagon. So long as you keep trying and keep the importance of positive change fresh in your mind, the sooner and more likely you are to find success.
Positive re-shaping of your life is possible if you want it bad enough (like anything else). Be realistic and take on what you can handle, get to know yourself and what makes you do the things you do, find healthy alternatives, and keep trying!
Thank-you for reading.