In this post, I shared the fact that taking an all or nothing approach to your weight loss efforts can hurt you rather than propel you forward towards your goal. And here I’m presenting the alternative.
The goal of the five step process that I’m sharing with you below is to break down your big goal into smaller individual tasks that I’ll call habits from now on. These habits are those that are necessary to help you reach your goal and maintain your success for the long term.
The reason why a habit-based approach like this works is that you’re less focused on the big scary goal of losing “X” number of pounds and more focused on the things you can control in your environment, in your day, and in your overall life to get there.
Shifting your focus like this will help you feel empowered and also help you embody the fact that your weight is influenced by the choices you make each and every day and that focusing on habits will help you make the right choices regardless of what’s going on in your life.
So let’s begin.
Step One: Make a list of what “all” looks like
While trying to do everything that’s necessary for you to lose weight at once is less than ideal, you still need to have an idea of the habits that you’ll need to adopt.
Making this list of these habits can be overwhelming because it shows you everything you need to be doing differently from what you’re doing now.
But it’s critical for you to remind yourself of the goal of the exercise of listing it all is not to show you just how far you are from where you want to be. The goal of this exercise is to help you create a map to get there using the daily habits that you’ll live by.
Having a list of habits like this will help you adopt them one at a time and also help you keep your eye on what really matters – your daily choices.
Step Two: Make the list more manageable
After getting the full list of the habits that’ll help you get the body you want, the next step is to make the list more manageable by categorizing and prioritizing your initial list.
Pick habit categories that make sense for you. Examples include:
- “healthy eating habits,”
- “exercise habits,” and
- “healthy behavior habits.”
Then put each of the habits on your big list in the category that it belongs.
You can also take this a step further by listing it according to importance or priority. One more way to prioritize your list is by ease, from hardest to easiest or vice versa.
Step Three: Pick a time frame
Before you pick your time frame, you need to remember that change takes time. It didn’t take you 30 days to get the body you have now so you can’t expect it to take 30 days to get the body you want.
Rather than a timeframe for reaching your overall goal, I’m referring to the timeframe that you would use to tackle each of the items on your list. Again please don’t get overwhelmed by the amount of time it would take to get through all the items on your list.
Remember it took you time to get here, and also remember that you never want to be here again so it’s worth it to take the time to make these habits second nature.
Depending on how complex the habit is, you could set your time frame to be as little as 7 days or as much as 30 days. Go for consistent execution over perfection and pick your “measure” of consistency.
The measure I like to use is the 80/20 rule i.e. I’ll consider the habit time frame a success if you’re able to live that habit 80% of the time or for 24 (80%) of the 30 days. This is how I guide my clients through habit change in Lighter in 8 Weeks.
Step Four: Plan for success
For each of the habits on your list, you’re going to write out what you need to live it. For instance, if it:
- you want to focus on your diet- would you need buy in from your family because it might involve changing how they eat too?
- exercise is your jam – would you need to buy equipment or hire a trainer?
- you want to focus on behavior change – would you need to talk to your husband to help you out? Or a coach to guide you through the process?
Whatever it is write it down. This will allow you to know what you need in advance of when you need it. It will also allow you to get organized much quicker when you’re switching from one habit to another.
Step Five: Execute
When executing, you can choose to tackle your habits one at a time. When guiding my clients through change, I focus on one habit each week at the most.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure you choose a method of keeping track of what you’re doing. An easy way to do this is to make your mini goal SMART and check off everyday that you achieve that smart goal or you can make it a simple yes or no statement.
Bonus Step: Jump start the process with a 5-Day Challenge
One step more you can take is to change your thinking so you can finally start to have genuine weight loss success. To help you do this, I created a 5 Day Challenge called Change Your Thinking and Win at Weight Loss.
Your success is not just about getting through a 30 Day diet anymore, instead it’s about feeling good in your skin for life.
And this challenge will help you start to do that. Here’s what you’ll do each day:
- 1: Identify what losing weight will help you achieve so you can keep your eye on the prize as you take action to lose weight
- 2: Get very clear about why the achievement you identified on Day 1 matters so you can resist the temptation to quit before you get to your destination
- 3: Learn why it’s okay to be imperfect and why this doesn’t doom you to never getting the results you want so you can pick yourself up when you slip up
- 4: Face the hard things that you’re avoiding so you can commit to them upfront and get over any objections that you have right now
- 5: Create your one page “don’t quit” reminder so you don’t quit before you get to your goal. Because when you quit, you won’t keep moving forward. And if you stop moving forward, you won’t get results. This don’t quit reminder will help you avoid this up front
You’re going to walk away from this 5-Day challenge knowing that you can crush your weight loss goal because you have a mindset that’ll support you to do just that. So don’t wait another moment, click the button below…
Now it’s time to take action…
You’ll only get the benefit of the information you got from this article if you act on it. So go through the five step process and pick out the first three (or first) habit that you want to tackle, set your start date for making it a consistent habit in your life, and execute.