It’s time. You know you are ready to change your habits for a healthier lifestyle. Good for you!
To set yourself up for success make sure you are clear on want you want and the motivation behind your desire. This will help you gain clarity as well as create the right mindset to support your desired outcome or goal.
Let’s get started. To begin you need a specific, measurable outcome or goal. What do you want to achieve? This is no different than the goals you set in your professional life – strategic planning, performance goals, department goals, employee goals. We all know the drill.
There are five criteria to a well-informed outcome for your health goals. If you don’t have that well-informed outcome, then it is difficult know if you are on the right path!
The five components of a well-formed outcome are:
1. It is stated in the positive.
2. It is initiated and maintained by self – you not dependent on someone else to get the result.
3. It is achievable within a specific time frame.
4. It has a specific sensory-based description. Meaning, you know how it feels; how it looks; how it sounds; how you know when you have it.
5. It is an appropriate “chunk” size. You need a chunk big enough to be worthwhile, yet small enough to feel attainable. Decide if it Is important enough to YOU to spend time on it. The chunk should be specific, measurable, and achievable.
Begin by writing down some outcomes – maybe two or three – that you would like to have. Again, you are looking for a specific, precise, achievable outcome here.
Your Motivating Factor
What is the important thing that is driving you to change or make the changes now that you haven’t been willing to make in the past? I promise that there will be ups and downs during the process, so you need to be drawn to that motivating factor that you feel is worth fighting for. That will help you say “yes” to the things that positively steer you and “no” to the things that don’t.
The motivating factor helps create positive feelings with the healthy choices you make. You are making a commitment to something that’s more important than short-term pleasure or gratification. For a specific time, you are holding this motivating factor as your value system, or vow, from which to make healthy choices.
Otherwise, the old habits and behaviors will take over. Why? Because doing what you have always done is easier in the short-term than doing something new but doesn’t match what we want to experience in the long-term. So, you are playing a long game here and the motivating factor is the thing that will align with your commitment to that long game.
Ask yourself, on a scale of one to ten, how important is your motivating factor to you? If it is not at least an eight it’s not a weighty enough driver for you. Keep exploring until you find a valuable enough reason to make the commitment to follow through in ways you never have before.
So, if you said that it was a five, what would have to be true for you in order for that to be an eight or nine and let’s see if we can find a driver that that is strong enough to keep you motivated.
Finally, you need to anchor your motivating factor. Humans are creatures of habit. If nothing changes in our environment, we keep the same routines. Therefore, you need to create cues, associations, little reminders that act as training wheels for building new habits. These are called anchors.
Now, what is an anchor? An anchor is something physical in your environment that will serve as a reminder as to why it is important to make change. You will pair it with the motivating factor. Examples include a meaningful picture or saying that you put as your screen saver, or taped to your bathroom mirror; a favorite goblet that someone special gave to your or that you found in a special time or place; a statue or trinket; a pair of pants that you used to wear and you felt fabulous when you wore them.
Anchors should prompt positive feelings, positive associations. You want to associate positive feelings with the new behaviors you are trying to install. Why? Because if you feel a positive emotion right before you do a behavior, or during, or immediately after, the new behavior has become more automatic. Your brain will look forward to doing it again.
The more positive association we can create with the new behavior, the less it will feel like a chore or an obligation. And the more it will become a solid habit.
When you are tempted to fall off track or sabotage in some way, you will remember that saying “no” to the old habits means saying “yes” to something much larger, more important to you.
It is always easier to change your health habits when you have the right system and accountability. As your personal health coach, I provide both the system and accountability you need to attain your goals. To learn more, go to https://cgshealthcoach.com/contact-us to schedule a free Create my Health Habits MAP Discovery Session with me.