When it comes to making a lifestyle change; be it quitting smoking, starting an exercise plan, making healthy nutritional choices, etc. Changing our current habits within our lives is an important component to address in order to be successful. Most of the things we do during the day are part of a habit or routine we have developed over time. Be it what time we wake up or go to bed, what we do on our breaks at work, foods we eat with different moods, etc. our habits influence the choices we make every day.
Once a decision has been made to make a lifestyle change, it is important to look at our habits and identify which habits will interfere with making this change. You will want to identify habits that take away time from making the change. For example, you may need to make more time in your schedule to add in exercise or to get the appropriate amount of sleep. You will need to identify habits that are associated with the unwanted habits . For example eating unneeded snacks while watching TV. You will want to identify event caused habits. For example reaching for sweets or a cigarette when you get stressed.
Once you have identified what habits need to be addressed in order to make your lifestyle change, you will need to decide how you will change it. Whether it’s a new evening routine that allows you to get to bed earlier, finding something new to do while watching TV or finding new techniques to help you calm down and relax when stressed, deciding on what your new habit will be is key. Choosing to eliminate something that is a regular part of your day is hard enough without giving yourself something new to replace it. Also if you don’t make a conscious choice of what you will be doing instead, you may find out that you have picked up another unwanted habit in its place. For example, how many former smokers do you now that picked up a snacking habit?
Once you have decided what changes you are going to make, it is time to pick a start date. A start date is a hard commitment to yourself of when you will begin. This allows you to prepare anything needed to start and get rid of anything no longer needed. A start date is also important because without a set date we may never begin to make the change.
Once you’ve set the start date for implementing your chosen lifestyle change, the key is persistent and consistent follow through. The first couple weeks or months will be the most challenging for creating the change. The only way to be successful is to continuously pursue the change you are making. If you have a slip up, identify what you can do to be more successful next time instead of using it as an excuse to give up. Remember, you are the one that makes the decision on what you choose to do, don’t let obstacles and challenges take away what you want in your life and the power of your choice to pursue them.