Why is adopting healthy eating habits so hard? We all know what to do, so why is it so hard to do it, especially when it comes to losing weight and eating healthy?
For me, a lot of it came down to habit – habit of thought and of action. The diet roller coaster became a habit; my way of life. Even when I wasn’t actively on a weight loss diet, I was thinking that I should be and feeling bad that I wasn’t on one.
The shift out of diet consciousness started with just a decision; a decision to stop the dieting madness that NEVER once worked in the long run. After that, all I had to do was tweak some habits.
So how do you turn your unwanted habits into success habits?
Success Habits: 10 Easy Tips for adopting healthy eating habits that last
- Identify a new habit you’d like to incorporate into your life. All successful people set goals. Be specific and write down the healthy eating habit you want to adopt. Want to cook more real food? Spell it out. What type of food? What good cooking habits will help you incorporate healthier foods? How will you make time? Form a habit by design.
- Make sure your focus is on the results you want to achieve. Make this a positive habit. Instead of focusing on a bad habit you’d like to get rid of, focus on forming a new habit you’d like to make part of your life. When you start incorporating positive healthy habits that become a natural part of your daily routine, the older unhealthy habits are more likely to fade away.
- Understand the reason for your new behavior. Are you doing this because someone else wants you to? Are you doing it because you think you SHOULD? To be successful, you have to think about how this new habit will make a positive impact in your life.
- Visualize the results of your new healthy eating habit. Visualize what you ultimately want to achieve. If you want to lose weight and have a healthy body at your desired weight, picture yourself at your ideal weight wearing clothes in the size you’d like to be. See yourself doing activities in your desired body with vibrancy and exuding health. Do this every night before you go to bed and immediately when you wake up (before even getting out of bed). These visions will become your reality. What would your life be like if you developed healthier habits around food and your health? What would your relationships look like? What would your body look like? How would you feel?
- Take action every day. Start with very small manageable steps. Continuing with the example of weight loss, most people fail because they focus on the things they don’t like about losing weight – the food they have to give up, the exercise they have to do, etc. What if every day you added one small healthy step toward your goal? Today drink an extra glass of water, tomorrow add a vegetable, the next day park further away from your destination. You get the picture.
- Document and reward your successes. Shut off the negative voice in your head. When you eat a cookie instead of a carrot stick do you berate yourself and consider yourself a failure? Forget the small detours from your goal and focus on the things you’re doing well. There’s always something positive you can focus on. Record and reward your progress daily.
- Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Be consistent. No matter what your goal is, in order to make this new behavior an automatic habit, you need to practice it consistently for at least 30 days in a row. It takes repetition to form a habit of success.
- Focus on one new habit at a time. It can be overwhelming to make many lifestyle changes at once. You’ll be able to tell if you’re on the right track by the way you feel. If the new behavior is causing stress or a feeling of being overwhelmed, take a step back before going on to a new positive habit. Some habits have taken a lifetime to create and expecting instant change is not realistic.
- Change limiting beliefs. Understand that your beliefs are just thoughts you keep thinking and can be changed any time. So many people think that their beliefs equal the truth and that this truth cannot be changed. You can change ANY belief that limits your health, wealth, and happiness. Notice the beliefs that have you stuck and then DECIDE to change your story. Turn “I can’t lose weight” into “I love adopting healthy eating habits that make me feel vibrant”.
- Just do it. Don’t over analyze, do a million pro and con lists, talk it over dozens of times with all your friends… just do it. And if you need help with this, one of my favorite tools is one I learned from Mel Robbins in her book The Five Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage. She shows us how to change or add any new habit with her 5-4-3-2-1 process. It’s mind blowing how easy and effective it is.