It’s not so easy to change habits, even when we want it bad. Our brains are habituated into automatic behaviors. This “sleepwalking” behavior happens without any awareness whatsoever. We’re programmed for routine – it allows our brains room to think of other things.
Yet when we become aware that we need to change our binge eating, late-night snacking, or couch behavior habit, we think of sacrifice and deprivation. And if even if we do manage to make changes for awhile, our persistence often falters and we end up right back where we were.
The interesting thing? Eating clean and lifting weights are also routines, like brushing your teeth – they’re part of your daily routine, not burdens you have to “fit in.” As you practice the principles that help you lose weight, you’re also forging new neural pathways – new habits.
Once a healthy diet, more activity, and an empowered mindset are part of your daily routine, you not only lose weight but you don’t end up right back where you started months later.
Desire, Yes. But What Else?
One client of mine, Liz, came to me frustrated and stuck after the birth of her twins. You might identify with her struggle to lose weight because she’s a busy mom, but she just need encouragement and a structured plan. Taking small steps over eight weeks helped her to lose eight inches.
You may think of weight loss as requiring lots of willpower. And yes, you need a strong desire to reach your goals and be very clear about what you want. But even more important are intent and persistence.
Setting measureable, achievable goals help you focus your intention.
You must be able to keep going, even in the face of setbacks.
These are two things that most people skip. But changing habits alone doesn’t work in the long term.
Finding Your Way to Success
If you’re clear about what you want to accomplish but aren’t acting with intent and persisting through setbacks, you may always regain the weight (or never lose it to begin with).
The best way to achieve both intention and persistence? Support. The slope is too slippery, otherwise, and it’s easy to lose your focus.
Weight loss coaching groups are popular for a reason – they help you stay on track and give you small steps to get there. The commraderie of fellow members and a structure and framework for making habit changes are keys to success.
Once you’re able to integrate clean eating and moving more into your daily routine, you’ll have a new lifestyle instead of yet another unsuccessful attempt at weight loss.
This article originally appeared on www.workoutnirvana.com.