And 4 Ways to Make it Easier
As a health coach, I’ve learned that showing people ‘how to change’ is much more effective than telling them ‘what to do’. You would think that if I tell you what to do, and even if it makes a lot of sense and you agree with it, that it would result in making positive changes. However, despite my best efforts to inform you, and your best efforts to absorb that new information, nothing changes until the action overcomes the resistance from your existing habits and mindset.
See, most people don’t struggle with the information part, they struggle with the action part because changing old behaviors is hard to do. Specifically, the top challenges people face are:
1. Stress Eating / Emotional Eating
2. Lack of Planning
4. Snacking when not hungry
The complete list includes 14 different challenges that people say most often ruins their best health and wellness plans. Number 11 on the list is ‘Not knowing what to eat’, just after ‘Wine & Alcohol’. The point is most people know what’s good and bad for them but we don’t listen, even to ourselves. If that’s the case, then why would anybody listen to me? Truth is they won’t until they uncover their ‘Why’.
I ask all my clients to tell me ‘why’ they want to change. Many say to lose weight, gain energy, look and feel better – but none of those will get you through the tough days. So, while change is hard, dealing with sickness is much harder. They say if you don’t make time for your wellness now, you’ll be forced to make time for your sickness later. I don’t want that; nobody wants that – so here are 4 things you can do to make those difficult habit changes possible.
1. Discover your ‘why’. I mean the ‘why’ beneath the ‘why’. Many times, I ask potential clients, what’s more important: the quantity or length of your life, or the quality of your life? On average most people spend the last 10 years of their life in sickness, that’s no way to live. For me, the quality of my life was much more important than the effort I was putting into it. Until my effort and lifestyle behaviors matched my why I would keep making poor decisions. Discover your why and grab hold of it because it will be the difference between failure and success.
2. One habit at a time! It takes 66 days to form a new habit and using my 80/20 approach it takes 90 days. Now, while I coach you through 8 areas that make up the core of your daily health routine, the goal is for you to improve one habit at a time. From meals, snacks, and water to exercise, mindfulness, and sleep, your health is a composite of all these areas. Trying to change them all at once will typically result in overwhelm and stress leading to sabotage and eventually the white flag of surrender. Instead, choose one area, create a new habit, and take the next step.
3. Don’t argue with yourself! Sabotage is going to come and rear its ugly head whenever possible. The temptation will be lurking at every corner. Don’t try and fight all these urges, or try to talk sense into yourself each time there is an internal battle. Instead, use the 5-4-3-2-1- Decide and Act tool. That’s right, at every moment of decision don’t try to figure out the pros and cons, do’s and don’ts, if this or that…instead simply focus on the decision you ‘should’ make based on the wellness plan you’re on or goal you’re trying to achieve, then count down from 5 to 1, decide and act. Notice how I say decide and act, not just act – because you can still make the wrong decision. That’s OK, as long as you take time after to consider your action, and why it did or did not align to your why. Just don’t sit there contemplating because the longer you do, the more likely you are to make the wrong decision. You only need to be brave for 5 seconds!
4. 80/20 everything! Use the 80/20 approach (being on the healthy side of the equation at least 80% of the time) so that progress is your goal, not perfection. Perfection sets us up for failure. Done is better than perfect, and any progress means you’re moving in the right direction. Celebrate your wins, and understand that backward steps and failures are all part of success. No one gets to their goal in one continuous line of achievement. Give yourself room for life, don’t be so hard on yourself and most of all, don’t give up on yourself!
All of this and more is covered in my 12-Week Habit Change Wellness Course. To enroll and receive your first lesson free, use code ‘Free1’ at www.UpLevelLiving.com/enroll