Creating Healthy Habits

Losing weight involves making change to habits. Change involves pain, yet so does staying the same. If you’re not happy with your weight, which pain will you choose?

Creating change to enable weight loss involves identifying the habits that have contributed to your current weight. It might be that at 10.30am every day, you do the coffee shop run and order your favourite flavoured coffee. You know the sugary syrup will not be doing your weight any favours, yet the habit is there.

Filling the void

Success depends on making it easy to change the habit. You can’t just create a void by saying “I just won’t do it.” Maintaining the safe part of the habit (going to the coffee shop) and replacing the damaging part (the flavoured coffee) gives you the best chance of success. Go to the coffee shop and order a drink that supports the results you want. A café latte is a good step. A long black could come next.

Will there be pain when you take the first sip of your unsweetened coffee? Yes. Will there be pain if you don’t lose weight? Yes. Which pain will you choose?

Plan for challenges

Changing habits needs a plan. Want is not a plan. Willpower is not a plan. Hope or luck is not a plan.

In establishing a plan, you’ll need to identify your current habits that are causing the pain of being overweight. It might be a glass of wine with dinner every night, or stopping at the drive-through on the way home. Maybe it’s that the tea room at work has biscuits and this is a big temptation.

Changing these habits can be achieved by establishing an “if-then” response.

Obstacle: Thursday night drive-through.

If-then: If I’m late from work on Thursday night, then I will put my phone on speaker and chat with my supportive friend while I drive home.

Obstacle: The donut shop in the food court.

If-then: If I’m tempted to stop at the donut shop, then as I get close I will count backwards in 7s from 100. 100, 93, 86, 79…

It doesn’t really matter what you decide to do, as long as you follow through and do it. Consistently following through allows you to make small wins. These wins help to gradually build your self-confidence, and confidence lowers the need for willpower. The more confident you get, the more you desire better results.

Willpower involves fighting with yourself, whereas confidence enables you to live congruently with your goals.

Any form of habit change will involve pain, and creating healthy habits will be no different. The question is whether you’d prefer the new, positive, temporary pain, or stick with the current pain of putting up with results you don’t want.

The choice is yours.

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