Is it possible to change habits for a better life?  To achieve success in the journey towards better health, you need to know what to do and what to avoid! Let’s start with why so many people who try to change habits in the hope of a better lifestyle have very low levels of success.

Information overload

Firstly, there is just too much information out there. This is particularly true in the field of diet and nutrition where consumers are receiving a lot of conflicting information which leaves them confused. How can you change habits if you don’t know what to change to?

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Secondly, people looking to change habits often prioritise poorly. Many people who want to lose weight or change their body shape will join a gym, but then pay little or no regard to what they are eating.

Then there are the people who overdo it. They have gathered enough motivation to change habits, but they go overboard trying to change too many things at once. This may work for a few people, but if you try to change a number of habits at once you are almost certainly going to fail in your goal.

Fourthly, people generally don’t set goals, check their start position, or track progress. This makes it tough for them to see if they are actually getting anywhere, or how far they’ve come if they have made progress.

Lastly, people don’t understand that achieving lasting health takes time. If you’ve been a champion couch potato for the last 20 years you shouldn’t expect to be reversing that in a few weeks. To change habits takes months not weeks. There are no ‘magic bullets’ or quick fixes when it comes to health I’m afraid.

Sure ways to change habits

If all that seems like doom and gloom, don’t worry. Read on for the ways that you can make lasting changes to improve your health and well-being:

Change bad  habits for good ones- Doctor holds vegetablesConsider getting a health coach. A good coach will measure and assess your starting position, prioritise for you, work with you to set realistic goals, and track your progress. If you have a genuine desire to change, then a great coach will get you results.

If you want to go it alone then don’t overdo it! Look at your starting position and pick a habit to change. Let’s say you eat nothing but junk food. If you try and cut junk food out of your diet completely straightaway what do you think is likely to happen? It’s unlikely to be a success. Start off by cutting it out on one or two days, or every other day.

If you’re looking to change habits ask yourself this. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being a certainty) how likely is it that you will be able to make this change in the longer term (minimum 30 days). If you answer anything less than a 9 or a 10 then reduce the scale of the change. Make it easier to change habits. Once you are confident you’ve locked this habit in then set yourself another target. You will soon get an understanding of just how much you can manage at one time and you will improve your lifestyle without undue stress or the risk of overextending and failure.

A helping hand to change habits

Get support. You can start by checking out a few tips on which exercise habits you need to pick up first. People who are surrounded by supportive or like minded people are more likely to achieve success. Giving up alcohol for example is pretty difficult if you surround yourself with people who always seem to have a glass of wine in their hand. Worse still they might be encouraging you to go back to old habits.

It is never easy to change habits. There will be periods when things happen in your life which seem to throw a spanner in the works. In the future I’ll be writing about how to keep going through stressful times, but for now just remember this. You need to let go of perfection in these periods. Don’t beat yourself up when your habits mess up a little. There is no need to quit, just adjust. It’s all about doing what you can until things get back to normal.

If you are persistent and consistent you will start to see and feel significant health gains.

 

(image credit: hd2wallpapers,wellnessbyramona)

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