5 Steps to Maintain Ideal Weight after Reaching Your Goal

Five Steps to Changing a Habit

Habits are regular patterns of behavior that we do so often that they become involuntary.  We are creatures of habit, some good and some bad.  So what’s the big deal with habits?  Well, habits are very powerful because they shape and mold who you are and who you will become.  What you do daily is what matters.  Remember, if you keep doing the same thing, you will keep getting the same results.  So, not liking your results?  Change your habits.  You can transform your life and reinvent who you are by changing your habits.  Easier said than done, right?  Well, here are five steps you can take today towards changing a habit.

1. Write down what you want to change.  Identify the habits that are unhealthy and holding you back from your goals.  Then write down what you want to change.  For example, when I was pregnant with my twins girls, I got into the habit of snacking on munchies with my husband every evening before bed.  It was fun and I started looking forward to it every night.  But after the twins were born and I wanted to lose the extra weight, I realized that our after-dinner snacking sessions were going to have to stop.  I wrote down the things that I needed to change (including the after-dinner snacking) in order to reach my goal weight.  And I’m happy to report that I’ve lost the weight and am now back to my normal size.  There’s something about writing down your goals that makes them more concrete and attainable.  You are more likely to reach your goal if you put it in writing.  It gives clarity to your thoughts and allows you to see them visually on paper.  Try keeping a journal of things you would like to accomplish.  Whether it’s something you want to do the next day or a long-term goal, writing it down seals the deal.

2.  Find replacements.  If you are trying to break the habit of eating a huge bowl of icecream every night before bed, chances are you will need to find a replacement.  You are used to having a treat and look forward to that bowl of icecream.  You might even feel disappointed and depressed at the thought of not being able to have it.  So, find a replacement.  Instead of a bowl of icecream, try a bowl of something else that is heathier, but that you will enjoy.  When I was trying to change my habit of after-dinner snacking, I knew I would have to find a replacement for the snacks, especially in the beginning.  I love fruit, so when I started feeling that need for some munchies, I had a bowl of mixed berries drizzled with honey and ground flaxseed instead.  Very healthy and light, but it satisfied my craving for an after-dinner snack.

3.  Take small steps.   If you tackle one habit at a time, you are more likely to succeed than if you try to change everything at once.  You might be very motivated and want to take on all of those habits now, but focusing all your effort on one until you have it mastered will help you keep those new habits for the long run.  Be patient and give yourself time to adjust to the new habits you are trying to form.

4.  Repetition is key. It takes 21 days to change a habit. So, for three weeks, repeat the new habit daily.  Repetition is your secret weapon in developing a new habit.  Practice it over and over, and after 21 days, you can own it.

5.  Visualize and Verbalize.  Keep the end result in mind.  How will your life be different as a result of this habit change?  And then keep that vision in front of you.  Hang up a picture that motivates you and reminds you of your goal.  Then speak out that goal with certainty and confidence, as if it’s already happened.  For instance, when I was trying to lose the pregnancy weight, I hung up a picture of myself at my ideal weight.  It kept me motivated and my goal in the forefront of my mind.  And when I saw that picture I verbalized my goal:  “I am losing this extra weight and fitting back into all of my clothes.”  This is a powerful tool because there is power in our thoughts and our words.