If you are trying to lose weight and become fitter and healthier but are having a hard time achieving your goals, this is a strategy that may help you along the way.  These are some simple steps that can help you change the way you think, eat, and live your life.

  1. Self analysis.  First of all look at the bad habits that you are trying to change.  Whether it be a bad eating behavior or a resistance to exercising or something else that you are trying to stop doing, look at the last time it occurred, and then look back to see what preceded it – did something happen?  How were you feeling? Also look at how you felt during and after to ascertain how you might possibly prevent future incidence.
  1. Environmental management.  If driving by the donut shop makes you want to stop and get one, then change your route.  If not being able to find your walking/running/exercising shoes or other clothing prevents you from exercising, plan ahead and set your shoes and/or clothing out by the door making it easier for you to make good choices.  On the diet end of things, this would include getting rid of foods that trigger you to eat too much, and buying more low calorie, nutrient dense food that you can feel free to snack on.
  1. Alternate behaviors.  Look at an alternative way that you can respond to things.  As an example, instead of eating some chocolate or cookies when you get upset, try taking a walk instead.
  1. Reward good behavior.  Giving yourself a reward when you change your behavior in a positive way.  
  1. Negatively reinforce bad choices.  Giving up something or enduring something when you engage in the unwanted behaviors.  For example giving up a financial gain, or enduring some sort of task you don’t like doing.
  1. Find social support.  This one is huge. It is very helpful if members of your household are supporting you on your journey rather than trying to encourage you to fall back into old ways.  But you can also arrange to be encouraged and to encourage others who are on the same journey by joining a group either in person or online.
  1. Rewire your brain.  Negative self talk can really sabotage your efforts to make positive changes.  Train your brain to speak positivity and don’t allow negative thoughts to overtake you.  
  1. Emotional control.  In order to keep your stress and negative emotions to a minimum, try some of the following coping methods:
    • Re-frame a tricky situation.  
    • Disengage from something that is threatening to bring stress.
    • Use positive self talk and imagery to soothe when you feel your emotions spiraling.
    • Remove yourself from a situation that could become toxic.
    • Try to look at everything from a ‘glass half full’ point of view, find the positives.
  1. Relapse prevention and recovery.  Finally, identify situations that threaten to throw you into relapse.  Then learn how to recover from small relapses before they become bigger relapses.  Always remember that tomorrow is a new day, and you can press the reset button as often as you need to.