Planning upcoming classes always starts with a BIG idea. Then I spend the next month or more paring the scope down to a manageable amount of information. Reining in my excitement for a topic is part of the process – all good!
Changing habits is an enormous topic, and I know it is what most people need most when it comes to weight loss and health. Preparing for this class has been daunting: “I can’t cut THAT out. It’s so great! . . . but I really need to include THIS . . . etc., etc.” – a painful process of elimination.
It was precisely at this point in my thinking that I received a perfectly timed e-mail from a therapist friend who was aware of my upcoming class offering. The information is so great that I knew when I saw it that it was the boiled down practical summary of all of the information I have collected. Whatever else goes into the class, this will surely be a part of it.
To get to the point where new patterns are practiced enough to become new habits, a person must find the will power to make it through the short term practice period. Will power is not the answer for long term change – it’s too energy intensive – but it sure does help with the practice period before a new habit becomes natural!
I summarized the 5 tips below, but I would recommend connecting to the video link as well to hear Kelly McGonigal’s full presentation (about 30 minutes, and well worth the time).
1. Forgive yourself when you think you have failed. Remember that no one has perfect will power. Let yourself off the hook instead of dwelling on guilt.
2. Get enough sleep. It recharges your body, an essential process for recharging will power.
3. Reward yourself for short term successes. Rewards need not be large or expensive. We all need short term motivators to keep it going long enough to create new habits. This should be something that motivates YOU.
4. Be mindful of how you feel when you are tempted. Let the feelings just exist, without trying to fight them. Feelings that are recognized and accepted tend to dissolve, while pushing them aside often causes them to rise up furiously. At the same time remember your reasons for changing habits.
5. Expect to fail. WHAT!! Yes, plan for failure so you can prepare for success. This involves taking a good look at why you fail with what you are trying to do – in detail. Then you can find solutions to practice. Take healthy snacks if you know you eat from the vending machine when you are hungry at work, or take workout clothes with you to work if you know once you get home to change you will stay there.