Changing your eating habits can be a really difficult thing. Why? Well, they’re habits–they’re hard to break and hard to start. However, not impossible. Taking baby steps, or setting small goals towards an overall eating habit can be a great way to reach nutritional success!
It’s important that you don’t get caught up in all the things you want to change at once. This can cause burnout, fatigue, and a lack of motivation from feeling overwhelmed. Focusing on one goal at a time will build your confidence to get to the next goal, and so on until the habit change is made. For example, focusing on making breakfast every day would be a specific goal rather than focusing on eating healthy throughout the day.
There are some helpful rules to follow in order to change your habits for the better.
Nutritional Habit Success Rules
- Focus on one goal at a time: This, we’ve talked about. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself with mountains of goals. Choose one thing that you’re comfortable with, and this will be the first step in the process of changing your habits.
- Choose an easy goal first: Choose something that you’re comfortable with changing. Something that you aren’t intimidated by. Your goals don’t always have to be “easy”, but when beginning to change habits, this can be helpful to prevent feeling defeated early on.
- Choose something measurable: The goal you choose to start your habit change with should be something you can measure. It could be measurable in terms of completion or more specific (for example, if you were trying to eat a certain amount of protein throughout the day, your goal could be measured in terms of how many meals contained protein, how many grams you ate, etc.)
- Make sure your environment works with you: Another thing to think about when goal setting is if your home/work environment can support it. Changing habits is hard enough without extra elements working against you. Things to think about for this point could be: Does work have a place to store a packed lunch? Does work have a place to prepare/warm-up food? Is my kitchen filled with junk food? Do I have the necessary cooking utensils and supplies to complete my goal?
Some Extra Tips
- Tell people about it: Adding social support from friends and family can actually increase your motivation and accountability.
- Report daily: Check in with yourself regarding your progress daily. Be honest with yourself, but also don’t be too hard on yourself. Daily check-ins allow you to track your progress and it’s also fun to look back and see how much progress you’ve made.
- Cut yourself some slack: As I said, don’t be too hard on yourself. We’re all our own worst critics, but you shouldn’t stand in the way of your own goals. It’s okay to have setbacks or bad days, that’s normal, but it’s important to keep a positive attitude and focus on trying again for the remainder of the day and again the next day.
Written by GUADS staff member Toni with contributions from www.percisionnutrition.com