We’re two months into 2018, the time of year when everyone is either into a groove of new habits or have completely given up. If you’re having trouble motivating yourself to reach the goal you set out for yourself (weight loss, more water, fill in the blank…), maybe it’s time to re-evaluate?

It would be awesome if we could just wave a wand, swallow a pill or blink our eyes and pray and our goal would be magically accomplished. But unicorns are not reality and it’s time to dive into the real work.

Changing habits takes TIME. While fad diets like the Whole 30 or Keto plan may give you temporary results, they are not sustainable practices that will yield long term success. Are you always going to be able to read every minute ingredient on a food label when traveling, or is it better to learn what the best choice is for YOU given the current situation and move on? Will you consistently never have white rice again or will you forgive yourself for eating a small portion when you went out for Indian food with your family?

Rather than being militant with your habits, how about a little grace and common sense? Are cake, ice cream, soda and candy bars daily going to lead to poor health? Likely. Will a slice of cake on your birthday ruin your waistline? Probably not.

When changing any habit, try to use the SMART approach. Here’s what I mean:

  1. Be Specific. Weight loss is not a goal- it is an end point that will only happen when baby steps are taken. Walking 3 days/week for 30 minutes is a specific goal.
  2. Make it Measurable. Wear a watch and measure how many minutes you have exercised.
  3. Make it Attainable. Is giving up chocolate for life attainable? Probably not. How about reducing your desserts to 1-2 times/week? That might work.
  4. Keep it Relevant. The change in habit has to matter to you.If you’re trying to prevent diabetes, reducing dessert is relevant goal.
  5. Given it Time. This is the only part of “Whole 30” that I like. It has a specific amount of time allotted to a task. The key is to ask yourself, what happens AFTER the 30 days?

Habits take time to change. Allow some time for you to make sustainable, realistic changes- not over the top, punitive short term fixes. Your body and mind will thank you.

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