1. The Pile-On Is Too Hard: What we know about habit formation science is we can be most successful if we isolate one thing at a time. Getting fit and losing weight are entirely different domains. Best to start with one area and master it. Get the eating plan underway and laser focus on that even further- do you eat to emotions? An entirely new way of coping with feelings must be named, practiced and learned. Once a new habit is formed, another one can be added. Avoid the pile-on as making too many changes at once is a plan largely set up to fail.
2. You Don’t Really Want to Change, Or You Don’t Believe You Can: No lasting change will happen without a strong and compelling personal motivator:
- My MD said I will be dead in 5 years unless I change my eating habits
- If I stay on this path, I will not be able to play with my grand-kids
- If I don’t address my drinking, I will lose my family
Believing you can’t do something is a huge obstacle to making lasting change. We must notice the stories we are telling ourselves and change them (easy to say, harder to do–a skilled listener can help hugely). Each of us has unique strengths and if we are successful on one area of our lives, we can direct our focused attention to any domain we want. Lasting change and forming habits has everything to do with what’s between our ears and our mindset.
3. The Plan Stinks: If you loathe the plan you have set forth and dread even thinking about it, it will tank. How can you make it fun and easy?
- Hate the gym? Only exercise outdoors
- Drained by networking events to promote your business? Arrange 1:1 coffee meetings
- Can’t stand humiliating weigh-ins or calorie counting? Dump all of it and laser focus on eating intuitively
Promises that we break to ourselves are the hardest to endure. Go gently on yourself for we are complicated creatures.
Although no one can go back and make a brand-new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.
—Carl Bard, American writer honored with two Pulitzers