Week Two – A Setup for Success

January 9, 2018 in General, Psychology of Food, Weight Management by Joyce Bunderson

It’s week two of the New Year; are you still toying with ideas for goals for this New Year? Why not? Think about it; but don’t procrastinate too long – jump in – get started. Don’t sell yourself the idea that you missed January first and now it’s too late.

The following are just a couple of ideas to help you be successful:

  1. Start small. Make your goal so easy that you know you can do it. Set yourself up for success. Success is powerful! It unhitches the heavy dead weight of procrastination and gets your locomotive of progress moving forward; and all of a sudden you’re forming successful and powerful thoughts about yourself. For example, if you’ve decided to stop drinking sugar-sweetened beverages and you’re presently drinking 36 ounces per day, consider doing it incrementally. Make it so easy that it won’t be a huge challenge. You decide what that is; let’s say you decide that you can cut out one can of cola a day – that brings you down to 24 ounces. Do that for a couple of weeks; then go to 12 ounces and another couple of weeks and finally, after a month or two you’re off soda. Meanwhile, you may have gotten some ideas of what works for you to replace the soda. It’s important to find something you enjoy. Personally, I enjoy water infused with cucumbers or fruit and herb tea; also, a diet soda from time to time. But if you really want an abundant selection of ideas for alternatives, check out the Internet. Try something that appeals to you.

The point is to start small with whatever goal you decide to work on. Feel the success. If you want to create a walking habit, begin with a very short walk and incrementally increase it. The habit is being created and strengthened almost painlessly; and you feel the success and that’s powerful.

  1. Recognize from the beginning of designing your new habit that sometime you’re going to miss your habit once. Something will happen and you will miss. As James Clear suggests Give Up the All or Nothing Thinking. This is tremendously important. Think back to when you tried so hard to create a new goal and something crashed in on your plan – you let it end your plan. Life is going to get in your way – recognize it from the beginning. But ….. the BIG BUT….. Recognize that one slip up will not matter when it comes to your long-term progress. Think of yourself as someone who never misses a habit twice. Get up immediately and right back to your goal. This thinking is important for your long-term success.
  2. When planning your new habit/your new behavior, use routine to strengthen your behavior. Build your new habit into the framework of your present routine. If you schedule your behavior, it can make you two to three times more likely to perform an action in the future. For example, I decided to read two different study courses this year; so I divided the books’ pages by days in the year. So the goal is to read 6 or 7 pages after each breakfast and each lunch. If research tells us that something will strengthen our resolve, then why not take advantage of that extra benefit?
  3. Control your environment. If you’re surrounded by sugared-up soda pop (example above), having no alternative in sight will make it doubly difficult to succeed. Clear the trouble foods away – out of your vision and easy reach. Design a successful environment. Spend a little time discovering some foods/drinks that you enjoy that work with your goal and get the alternatives stocked in your environment.

It’s true; it’s not January first. But if you’ve taken some time to think through a kinder, wiser way of creating new habits, you may discover that you’re not only more successful, but happier also. Be kind to yourself during the creation of new habits.