Written by Carrie Company
How to actually conquer your health-related goals!
Step 1: What is your SMART health-related goal? Remember, let’s focus on one goal at a time and make it specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic and time focused. (An example: I want to reduce the number of sodas I drink each day to one within 3 weeks.)
Step 2: Carefully consider YOUR unique motivation! Where are you in regard to wanting to make this change?
Step 3: How to optimize your chances for success. Let’s look at the evidence-based strategies to change behavior:
Step 4: Use triggers to overcome your “monkey brain”! Yes, you read that correctly. Forming new habits into lifetime change, REQUIRES us to overcome our own automated and distracted thinking. Have you ever had the best intention of getting up early to exercise and instead woke up (yes, actually came to an awaken state) only to talk yourself out of actually getting out of bed? And then spent the rest of the day kicking yourself for not getting up? That was your “monkey brain” telling you “go back to bed, sleep, it will be too hard to work out today, there is always tomorrow!” You can overcome this with a simple trick. When your alarm goes off, count to 5. Decide before you go to bed, that you will put your feet on the floor by 3, stand up, and grab your workout stuff by 5. This will require you to focus on the counting instead of listening to your “monkey brain”.
Automate your desired behavior! Try sleeping in your workout clothes, do NOT buy the foods you wish to eliminate from your diet (if you must purchase those items for kids, put them out of sight for you), or decide to just get up or walk 5 minutes and then you can decide if you complete the entire 20 minutes.
Develop an alter ego! Yes, fake it until you make it. This is an evidence-based strategy that involves thinking of yourself in the third person to accomplish your goals. Have you ever heard of the “superman pose” to instill confidence? By behaving in a certain way, we actually change our brain chemistry in a way that gives us confidence and increases the likelihood of accomplishing our goals. Consider that sometimes a behavior (standing in a certain pose or getting up early to exercise) changes our thoughts (“I CAN do this!”).