Developing Good Habits (You already have)

Everyone knows that successful and sustainable weight loss is about good habits—doing the right things consistently. Unfortunately we tend to be consumed by our bad habits, which make the road to success seem long. But what about the good habits you already have? Tap into them to motivate yourself instead of focusing on what you lack.

1. Goal-setting: Getting what you want out of life starts with identifying what that is. Think of other goals you’ve set and achieved, such as saving for your first house, getting your graduate degree, or securing a promotion. Each of these started with realizing what you wanted (your overall goal), and then achieving many smaller goals to get there. Here’s an exercise that can help. Take a goal you’ve achieved, and write it down. Then, list all of the smaller steps you took to make this goal a reality. Now, pat yourself on the back. You did it! Next, realize that you can apply this same process and experience to weight loss. Write down your overall weight loss goal, and then list 5 smaller steps you can take to achieve this goal.

2. Taking the long view: Nothing worth having in life comes without hard work and commitment. Yet, too often we’re seduced by the ‘get rich quick’ ‘get thin overnight’ promises that aren’t real. Think of a time you took the ‘long view’ in your life—maybe building a healthy marriage or other relationship or achieving financial stability. Rather than expecting these things to be overnight successes, you worked at them every day, right? Maybe they were hard at first, and there were times you struggled, but mostly it was just about focus and paying attention. Weight loss is the same way. It doesn’t have to mean long-term deprivation, but it is something you’ll need to focus on a little bit each day. For you this might mean mindfulness with portion sizes, making sure the gym bag is always packed, or eating a little less before that dinner out. Having this mindset makes putting the daily deposit in the weight-control piggy bank second nature, just like other long-term successes in your life.

3. Tapping into your support system: They’re there to get you through that break-up, celebrate your new job, or just to go watch that chick-flick. Use them for your weight-loss efforts, too! The key starts with asking for what you want. Maybe that means never, ever talking about your diet. Or it could mean all healthy snacks at movie night, or an evening walk instead of dinner at the Olive Garden. Whatever you need, identify it and ask for it! They’re your friends and family, after all. They love you and want you to be happy. Let them support you.