How many times have you tried to create healthy habits? When was the last time you started a new diet, a new meal plan, a new schedule, a new system for getting something accomplished? How many times has it lasted more than a week? More than a day?
What if I showed you a process that would allow you to create small, meaningful changes that you are able to maintain…forever. Changes that act as building blocks to slowly create a magnificent tower of health and happiness.
Would you take it?
By following my 6 Steps of Habit Change, you will be able to effectively create healthy eating habits and any other habits you want to maintain.
The 6 Steps of Habit Change is a process that shows you how to make small changes that build on each other and add up to big results. This post is focused on eating healthier, but you can implement these steps for any new habits you want to make.
By realizing what’s preventing you from achieving your health goals, you’re able to identify what you need to change.
Key things to ask yourself are:
These simple questions will uncover a lot of the motivation behind your food choices. And without knowing why you eat, you can’t change what you eat.
The main reason why diets don’t work is because they don’t focus on problem solving.
Face it, if you had the option between a meal plan that could give you quick results and an hour with a therapist discussing everyone who made fun of you in middle school and how horrible it made you feel, you’d pick the former any day of the week (unless it’s Saturday night and you’ve had too much wine).
However, by looking for solutions that don’t address the cause, you’re putting a piece of cardboard over a pothole instead of acknowledging the hole and filling it in.
Diets = cardboard
Reasons for your health problems = giant pothole being ignored
It’s not possible to get the results you want without addressing how you got there. It’s not always fun, but it’s effective.
You might be thinking “Results? But we haven’t done anything yet!”
But we have
While you were becoming aware of what is in the way of your goals and what problems need solved to get you to the finish line, you were making little changes and discovering what you need to do. Now is when we figure out what works. The results stage is where you see the cumulative effect of all of the little habits you’ve made up until now.
Just because you’re seeing results, doesn’t mean you’ll keep them. Analysis is where you learn what you can maintain long-term. Not eating chocolate for the last month may have worked, but can you do it forever? Prepping everything you’re going to put in your mouth on Sunday afternoons might be great for now, but what happens on vacation?
Analysis is so important because if you’re using short-term methods to get the results you want right now, but in three months you’ve given them all up, what was the point? (other than learning what not to do)
You’re back to square 1 and more frustrated than ever.
That, my friends, is NOT what we’re looking for.
We’re nearing the close when we start talking about maintenance. At this point, you’re seeing results (maybe have even met your goals), you’ve created habits you can maintain, and you’re sticking to them! You’re basically a whole new person.
So why aren’t we done yet? You can’t know if you’ve really changed until you’ve been tempted every way possible to go back to your old ways.
Maybe you haven’t gone through the holidays yet. Maybe you haven’t had to bake 25 cupcakes for your child’s Valentine’s Day party and not eat a single one (or eat only one and stop). Maybe you haven’t had to endure your mother telling you that you’re too skinny and some more mashed potatoes won’t hurt.
When you can look any obstacle in the face and say “Pshhh. I got this.” then you’re on to the next beautiful phase.
Like an over-anticipatory 12th grader who can’t wait to get outta dodge and spread her wings, you have done it. You have overcome your past, taken control of your life, and created a new future.
This is how the 6 Steps of Habit Change works. Are you ready to give it a try? I hope so!
– Jenna Lee, RD