If you are planning any major lifestyle change, there are certain resources you can put into play to increase your chance for success. On this website, we talk about lifestyle change frequently, because it is an essential factor in lasting weight loss.
Because of that, today we’re going to discuss (in broad overview) the seven areas in which you can make small changes which add up to big changes in your lifestyle. Think of these as building a foundation to support any change you want to create in your life.
To create lasting change, you need a why. Having a clear vision of your goals and what your life will look like when your changes are in place helps motivate you. These can be private goals. You don’t need to share them with others, if that doesn’t work for you. But you do need to set goals.
Once you set your goals, you need a plan of action that shows the steps to get there. For example, if your goal is to lose 50 pounds in the next six months and keep it off permanently, you’ll want to identify specific objectives, actions, and a system for tracking your progress.
Motivation is closely related to goals in that you need to look closely at where you are, and where you want to be. This is a bit challenging, since looking closely at your current situation can sometimes be discouraging. Yet once you know where you’re at, it’s possible to make a plan to get yourself from there to the new “place”you would rather be.
You’ll probably need support in this area, and you may have setbacks along the way. Remember that sometimes a simple tool like learning how to empower your physiology can make a huge difference. One thing I notice in my weight loss practice is that success is motivating. Once you deal with emotional and mindset issues that may create self sabotage or hidden impediments, watching the weight on the scale drop creates motivation. So does feeling yourself fit more easily into your clothing. Even better, it’s exciting when your pants no longer fit because they’re too big! You can see this kind of motivation at work in the stories my weight loss clients tell.
Speaking of emotions, they are a bigger block to weight loss than most people realize. Emotional eating in particular is a challenge for those who want to lose weight and develop healthier lifestyles. It may be necessary to develop skills to identify and interrupt emotional patterns, before you will be successful in permanently losing weight. Here are some of the emotions which can present challenges:
This isn’t even a comprehensive list. When your emotions are getting in your way, and causing you to consistently, repeatedly, fail in your goal of lifestyle change, get help. There is help available. Don’t forget Einstein’s definition of insanity:
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
An important step in any personal change is identifying limiting beliefs. These may be beliefs about life, success, health, happiness, or personal beliefs about yourself. Often, you can spot limiting beliefs by listening for the little negative voice in your head, and writing down what it says. When you can capture limiting beliefs in this way, often you can find a way to transform them into positive support for your goals.
The key is to remember that every limiting belief is trying to help you. It’s trying to keep you safe – it actually has a positive intention. Given that knowledge, a little rewording can make a big difference. Empowering beliefs can be very powerful, so cultivating a few of those will help you a great deal as you redesign your life. Examples of empowering beliefs could be:
- I can do this!
- All I need to do is stay to my plan one day at a time.
- I can make tomorrow better than today.
- I am in charge of my life and circumstances.
- Setbacks are only temporary.
- I’m making progress on my goals every day.
This article continues in Part 2 with more lifestyle change tips.