Keeping track of new habits is difficult for most of us. Seemingly simple habits become hard if we’re not working on them gradually. I’ve been working with Michael, my Precision Nutrition coach since December on gradually building healthy habits for a more healthy life. The goal of Thrive Culture is to build on habits gradually over one year. My ultimate goal is to lose 30 lbs before having our second child. To keep on track, I receive a lesson via email every day giving me tools to help accomplish my goal through habits. I also have bi-weekly conversations with Michael to figure out what’s working well and how to better work on my habits. Here are 3 ways to keep habits.
- Make it visible. Keep notes around to help remember your habits. Paper irritates me to the point of anxiety so I try to keep a digital household EXCEPT when it comes to schedules and habits. I am working on a house cleaning challenge (deep cleaning, organizing and minimizing). Usually the only thing I keep on the fridge are three photos of my nieces and daughter but by keeping my House Challenge checklist front and center, it helps me keep it in the front of my mind. My weight loss chart is also prominent in my kitchen right next to my calendar. I weigh myself every friday as my goal is to lose one pound per week until my daughter’s Birthday.
- Find support. I have made it clear to my friends and family that I am working hard on my health. They understand and support my decision to skip out on certain treats and request certain foods at family gatherings. My sister is working on losing her baby weight so I am able to stay accountable on workouts and smart eating with her. Having Michael at Thrive Culture is the biggest support. I’m excited for my upcoming habits each time I speak with him.
- Keep it attainable. I’ve talked before about SMART goals. Habits are the same. You’ve got to make sure your habits are small, attainable steps to help you reach your goal. For example, one of my habits is to stop eating once I am 80% full. This was one of the first habits I received as a lesson at the beginning of my program, yet it is still one I struggle with. Michael has helped me realize that dinner is the meal that I struggle most with portion control. However, if I’m sure to have my afternoon snack, I’m not as hungry at dinner and am able to stop eating at 80% full.
While using these three ingredients, we still falter, and that’s ok. Just remember to give yourself grace and notice your weaknesses. In the past, writing down what I eat has not been successful. It doesn’t affect me to write all the bad foods. What does affect me is seeing that I am not lining up my food to my habits (eating until I’m 80% full, eating slowly, having smarter carbs etc.) When I notice that I’m failing at my small steps (habits) I see how that is going to stop me from reaching my goal. I notice when/why I’m failing with those habits and try again next time. It’s only a failure if you don’t learn something.
I’d love to know what tools you use to keep habits. Now that it’s March, look back at what resolutions you made for New Years. If you’ve fallen short of your goal, take a look at why and make a new plan! Remember, habits and goals take time.