Building Nutritional Habits that Stick


Many of our clients set out with us to begin a nutritional journey. I like to think of when they complete a challenge or a coaching cycle with us, that they are having a commencement...just like a graduation, it's actually the beginning, commencing, of the journey ahead. While they may want to celebrate a bit, we remind them of the information they've collected about what could happen if they reverse direction. If you've ever made changes, are feeling better, looking better, performing better, etc., it's worth holding on to those benefits by sticking with the habit you developed that delivered those results.

Just ONE Habit? With many of our clients, we start with some simple methods, like, strip the sugar out of your coffee, or go sugar free for a month. Depending upon their experience, sometimes they ask 'what about macros?', 'what about keto?', 'what about primal or paleo?', 'how about Zone?'  Sometimes we intentionally chose to focus challenges and plans on ONE KEY HABIT. We recently ran a No Sugar Challenge...stripping out real and artificial sugars...a habit that applies across any good nutritional plan, but also allowed participants to achieve creating a new habit. We quickly saw that the notion of focusing on ONE HABIT is more accessible and achievable, even though it may not actually be all that easy, but it's also VERY impactful, and more likely to be lasting. 

Often, when we explore making changes to our nutrition, in our impatience, we want heaps of information from the start. We want to know ALL the strategies. And we want these strategies on day one. While there are likely dozens of simple habits you can put to work immediately, research has shown that when people try to change a single behavior at a time, the likelihood that they’ll retain that habit for a year or more is better than 80 percent. When they try to tackle two behaviors at once, their chances of success are less than 35 percent. When they try for three behaviors or more, their success rate plummets to less than 5 percent.

Is it any surprise, then, that when we try to massively overhaul our lifestyle in short order, the changes simply don’t stick? Of course not. But, let’s be honest. Most of us aren’t that patient.  What is known from lots of study of this, is that that's not how it works for most people. Because that’s not how WE work.

Our best chance of success is to simplify, to tackle ONE basic habit at a time. You practice the habit for a week or two. Then you execute it for another week or two. Then it becomes a habit. And then, ONLY THEN, you can move on to a new idea. Perhaps you've practiced being sugar free for a week or two, then you executed it for another two weeks. It becomes a habit, or as I like to call it, your "new normal." 

Then Onto the Next... We want our clients to hold on to that "new normal" and then, choose the next SINGLE thing to tackle. Maybe it's balancing meals, maybe it's a focus on getting a new skill in the gym, maybe it's spending every Saturday hiking with your family, maybe it's getting more coaching support and accountability to take the next step.  Really, consistency, achievability, and a plan of action around your goals will help you develop habits! 

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