So you’ve decided to go on yet another diet plan. Like the last one, you are incredibly motivated. You feel empowered. You feel excited. And you simply cannot wait to see the results that are about to get underway.
The week starts off just as you expected. You followed your diet to the letter and started seeing changes already taking place.
Feeling accomplished, you know this is the time you will finally reach your goals.
Fast forward two weeks. Now it’s an entirely different story. You’ve cheated on your diet plan more times than you’d care to admit and the scale has stopped moving completely.
Fed up and frustrated, you drown your sorrows in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Perhaps you are just not cut out for this dieting thing.
Hold up. The problem here is not your diet. It’s your mentality surrounding your diet – or diets as the case probably is.
If you diet and attempt to change everything about your life at once, you stand a very little chance of actually seeing success. What you really need here is a mindset shift.
You need to stop searching for diets and instead, look for strategies that you can use that work in your life as it is. Think about it for a minute, when you go on a diet plan, chances are, everything changes. You’re now cooking five times a day rather than three and you’re eating at times you previously couldn’t.
You’re also missing out on your Friday night dinner with your two best friends because your diet will not permit you to dine in a restaurant.
With all of this happening, how do you ever expect to stay the course on the plan? It’s simple. You won’t.
What you need to do instead if you want to see success is stop focusing on this complete overhaul of all that you know and instead, focus on building good habits, one at a time.
A habit is something that you do automatically without thought. So, the more you make these smart choices as your habits, the easier it will be to get them to ‘stick’ over time.
And, by choosing to focus on just one at a time (rather than a dozen), you greatly increase the chances of success.
Research in the field of Change Psychology showed that if you add one new behavior change to your life and do it each and every day for 2-4 weeks, you have an 85% chance of success? BUT, if you add two new behavior changes to your life, that success rate falls down to 35%. And, if you are extra ambitious and try and do three things at once, well now you can bank on less than 10%.
Seeing success with your diet all comes down to making lifestyle changes and forming habits that stick slowly. This is not a race (and those who think it is, will never come out ahead).
So what can you do to ensure that you see results and come out ahead? Here’s your five-step game plan.
Step 1: Choose one simple, easy change to implement.
First, choose one simple change that you are confident you can implement. This change for instance could be adding one piece of fruit to breakfast to help meet your five to ten a day. Or, it might mean going to Eat This Much and entering your information to find out how much food you need to eat each day. By tracking your intake, you can help build the habit that will lead you to success.
Step 2: Be mentally prepared for the hard point.
Now, at some point during this process, things are going to get hard. Really hard. Be prepared for this. Know that if you push through, it will get easier.
With every behavior change, you will likely feel some resistance, usually around the 5-7 day mark.
Step 3: Get rid of on or off thinking.
It’s time to get rid of the notion that this change is temporarily. As you adopt this new lifestyle change (or habit), start thinking about it in terms of being a permanent change to how you live your life.
The sooner you start viewing it as something that will last forever, the sooner the notion of potentially stopping will disappear from your mind.
Step 4: Practice, practice, practice.
As much as possible, practice that new habit as often as you can. Repetition here really matters and can ensure that it becomes a healthy new habit you are successful at.
At the same time, if something happens and you miss out on it once or twice, don’t stress. You aim to practice, not achieve perfection.
Step 5: Focus on the behaviors you are doing.
Want a secret to make everything seem easier? Stop thinking about what this change will lead you to and instead, think about the behaviors you are doing. Focus on that and the rest will fall right into place.
By taking it one step at a time, you prevent the chances of feeling discouraged when you see how far off your long-term goal may be. Too many people find they feel like quitting when they don’t get the instant gratification they are looking for, but if you are only focusing on the day by day, you will get the feeling of success at the end of each day if you’ve done what you’ve set out to do.
So there you have the five steps you should be taking on a regular basis to make any new habits you implement to become lifestyle changes that last for good. If you truly want to succeed with your weight loss diet, you’ll want to focus on building the habit of tracking your calorie and macronutrient intake on a site like EatThisMuch.com. You can also get full meal plans here as well, so by making the habit of using those plans consistently on a daily and weekly basis, you can find yourself on the path to maximum success.