Bariatric Support Series Part 14

#14: From Habits to Behavior

Did you select a behavior to work on changing as part of last sessions challenge? How did it go?  Are you being successful with your modified habit?  I hope you will share your experience with me in the comment section below.

This week we will discuss the topic of motivation.

I want to expand on our discussion about habits to make it even more valuable for you as you work on building healthier lifestyle habits. How long does it take for a habit to become a new behavior?

Research shows that it takes an average of 66 days or 2 months for a behavior to become a new habit.

You may face the occasional “slip up.” Embrace your shortcomings even if you fail to master the behavior.

Give yourself permission to make mistakes and focus on getting back on track quickly. Messing up from time to time does not interfere with the formation of a habit.

Remember – we don’t want to fall into an all or nothing way of thinking. Weight loss is a process and it takes time.  if we make mistakes along the way our efforts are not wasted

Missing your afternoon spin class and replacing it with a brisk evening walk with the dogs should is still considered a victory. Life does not always go as planned, but the idea is that you put your best food forward.

We need to find ways to stay motivated with new behaviors until they become habits.

The following steps will give you some ideas on how to maintain a healthy motivation level.

You cannot reach a level of expertise if you never start.

If you haven’t started ask yourself what’s holding you back.  Is your barrier mental, physical or both?

Fear not only stops you from going to the gym, but it can also prevent you from giving it your all while you are there. All you need to do is start putting in the work and the results will come.

Look at the stimulus.

What triggers you to start the behavior?  For example, if the trigger is walking out of the office at 5pm and the stimulus is you feeling tired, you can overcome this obstacle by heading straight to the gym before heading home.

Look at that reward.

Is it powerful enough to keep you going through difficult times?  Nothing equates to seeing and experiencing hard-earned results. You will soon notice the rewards of looking better, feeling better and an overall positive outlook on life that will push you to the next level. Putting rewards in place will help keep you motivated.

Sign a contract.

Publicly make the commitment to your new habit and have consequences if you break the contract. This means that you should make a verbal commitment to your friends or family on your promise to make exercise a habit.

An example would be to pledge that you will work out 45 minutes 3 days out of the week. If you fail to achieve the contract that you committed to then there will be a penalty.

This penalty could be buying your friend their next meal or simply public embarrassment that you failed to follow through.

Reward yourself for sticking with a plan.

Setting some proper rewards to match milestones and goals is a great way to focus on improving your fitness.

Maybe you want to celebrate every 5 lb lost or every week that you hit your exercise goal of 30 minutes 3 times weekly. You can create goals to boost you to the next level of greatness.

Once the goal is achieved consider visiting your favorite destination or treat yourself to a day of rest and relaxation as a reward for all the hard work you put in.

Okay — The Challenge

You probably guessed it. If you did not identify the habit you want to change last session do that first – you can review the video here if you need to.

Now let’s work at making the motivation stronger.

Increase the reward or the stimulus or both to help you stay on track by the time we meet again to check progress you will be 30 days into your new habit and that is well on the way to making it a habit.