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Building Lasting Lifestyle Habits

Updated: Jun 15, 2021

That’s it! We make a decision. We reach a point where we have had enough of feeling unfit or unhealthy or overweight and uncomfortable or disorganised in our lives. We are finally going to be happy and have the relationships we have always wanted. It’s now time to start to make changes so that we can finally succeed in the area we have been desperate to for so long. This time it’s going to be different! This time we are not going to break the diet or stop until we get to our goal!

Can you relate to these sentiments? Have you been in a position or are you currently feeling this way? That spark of motivation and inspiration can be so powerful. It is the driving force behind every persons push to finally start to improve the quality of their lives.

So, the question is how do we go about making positive changes and implementing habits that will allow us to reach our health and wellness goals? These can be food or lifestyle related (improving relationships with self and others). In fact, any habit that will improve day to day life falls into this category. When we decide we wish to achieve a specific goal and we are very “psyched” about it, it is easy to feel motivated and positive. Unfortunately, the reason so many people find themselves giving up too soon may arise due to not setting realistic or achievable outcomes. It is so human to feel overwhelmed and fall off the wagon if you’re trying to do too much all at once.

In over-reaching and attempting to take on too much and too soon, as well as expecting perfection from oneself, we set ourselves up to fail. Can you relate to the feeling when you try to do everything all at once and then you miss a step of the process? The sense of disappointment and failure can make you think, “This is impossible, I just can't do this, so why should I even bother?”

When we try to use our willpower to resist temptation and impulses, we can end up exhausting ourselves particularly when we are trying to change too much all at once. In fact, we each have a limited amount of willpower that we use each and every day. If we are finding that we have other challenges to face, our newer habits that we are so desperate to implement, fall by the wayside as we use any energy towards addressing these situations. It is so common for people to find themselves, even after a few weeks of managing to build a new habit to be faced with a trigger that causes any old and more entrenched habit to take over. This can lead one to feel frustrated, despondent and annoyed at one’s inability to just do what they set out to do.

A great example that is often used is trying to run a marathon. You wouldn't go out and try to run 42km in one day. You would need to slowly build distance over time, pushing yourself a little more each day, and setting yourself realistic goals.