In 2001, I lost 147 pounds from RNY weight loss surgery. I tried Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, staple in my ear, you name it and I did it. While these diet programs can be successful, with a 147 excess pounds, losing at 1-2 pounds a week was too big of a feat to consider. My long term weight loss and fitness goals to lose 147 pounds felt like trying to climb Mt. Everest.
Whether through the assistance of an an organized diet plan, the tool of weight loss surgery, or undergoing on your own, it is important to set short term and long term goals. If you set weekly goals and monthly objectives, you will experience success and better able from losing sight of your goals.
Adjust your mindset from “I’m going to do this until I reach my goal” thinking to permanent health and active lifestyle habits. At first, setting habits can feel awkward and even burdensome. Once a habit is created, you are able to go on auto-pilot and they become second nature. You can’t imagine your life without a particular behavior habit.
So, how do you make changes that last?
To make changes that last and turn into habits, you need a plan. Any changes and goals worth having are worth writing down in a plan. To create your plan, here are five steps to lasting change that will turn into habits. After each step, I’ve listed an example for you in making your own plan.
1. Identify an area(s) that you want to change. (I want to lose 25 pounds.)
2. Ask yourself three questions about each area:
a. Why do I want to make this change? Name it! (For my health and to feel better about myself.)
b. Is it a good time to make this change now? (Yes!!)
c. Do I have support to make this change? What is your system of support? (Yes, my spouse or significant other, my support group members, my best friend, friends, family, my coach.)
3. Choose one or two things you will do to accomplish your change. Select a maximum of one or two things. Why? Remember, less is more so you don’t get overwhelmed and throw in the towel. This will avoid taking on too much in trying to switch things in your life too abruptly. (To lose 20 pounds, I will eliminate simple sugar and refined carbs, walk four days per week.)
4. Start slow. Changes that turn into habits occur in small steps. (I will replace fruit for the simple sugar and refined carbs food choices. I will start walking three days per week for 15-20 minutes.)
5. Write down your reward system. (When I lose five pounds, I will download five new songs on my MP3 player to enjoy while I am walking.
Write down your plan. Without a plan written in a journal, your computer, or a note posted on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror, your changes are merely a wish list. To put your plan in writing is the equivalent of planting flowers in soil for them to grow.
To make any change, it requires personal commitment and motivation. There is no external hocus pocus magic. The magic exists in you. When your motivation lessens, review your plan. Fine-tune your plan if necessary. When you wrote your plan, remember why making these changes are important to you. Renew your commitment to those changes so they become habits. Renewal of your excitement and enthusiasm will return when you continually review your plan.
Look at the changes you want to make right now as an opportunity to grow and improve your life. Embrace change as another way you are growing in your self-improvement and personal growth. All of us like autumn when the trees transition and change colors. Consider changes that you want to make in the same way. The changes you’re planning for today will be the habits that are second-nature before you know it. Just by making your plan using the five steps, you’re on your way!
The ultimate goal of weight loss success - HABITS! It’s about creating positive habits. Living healthy is nothing more than your mindset.
Believe In Yourself, Cathy, CLC Certified Life Coach, Weight Loss Surgery Coach