The key to success in any area of health or weight loss is to be consistent. It was Eleanor Roosevelt who once said, “I am who I am today because of the choices I made yesterday.” Consistently practicing an activity creates a habit, and a habit consistently practiced becomes a lifestyle. This truly is the secret to success in maintaining a healthy body weight. That is, creating a lifestyle based on habitual behaviours that are both beneficial and sustainable. So what are some ways we can ensure we are being consistent when it comes to our health?
- Create accountability – there is nothing more motivating than being accountable to somebody else. This might be a friend or spouse. Even buying a dog that needs to be walked daily will be a friendly reminder.
- Create patterns of behaviour – try to stick to routine until a behaviour becomes a habit. This generally takes 21-40 days.
- Be prepared – for example, practice preparing healthy lunches the night beforehand or lay out your gym clothes so that it takes little effort in the mornings.
- Establish daily reminders – for example, write your health goals in your diary and that way you have a constant reminder of what you wish to achieve. This might just be enough to keep motivating you toward that goal.
- Create a no-excuses policy – write up an official contract with yourself that you sign and date. This contract is a ‘No-Excuses’ policy and outlines your health goals and when you wish to achieve these by. Place this policy somewhere where you can see it regularly e.g. the refrigerator door.
- Reward yourself – Once you have practiced a behaviour consistently for 21 days treat yourself to a non-food reward. This helps to positively reinforce a behaviour. Make sure it is a non-food reward as food was never meant to be used for the purpose of rewarding or comforting.
Hopefully with these simple tips we will consistently be putting into place positive health behaviours until they become a habit, and until a habit becomes a lifestyle.