As we approach a new year, many of us anticipate a fresh start for our personal aspirations--dietary changes included. Countless Americans will include fitness and weight loss goals as part of their resolutions....just as they do every year. One might think that one year would be enough to set a goal and make a change, so that the next year we can move onto something new. That is always the plan, but of course, we all know it is not that easy. Or could it be? I have known the hardships of sticking to goals, both personally and through my clients. And, I have also experienced old habits broken and lives transformed. Within this mini series, I will give you some keys to unlock transformation in your life.
Notably, I would like to provide the disclaimer that this topic is not for the faint of heart. I am not going to work to convince you of the need for transformation. In this last year, my writings have already extensively covered the reasons for embracing healthier choices. Thus, this article is now for those hungry for change and eager to unlock the door to success! Are you with me?!
First of all, I am going to distinguish between lifestyle and diet. If you look up the dictionary definitions of these terms, you will find little variation. Lifestyle refers to the habit an individual holds, while diet more specifically refers to those food habits of an individual. However, as a culture, we have used and applied the term “diet” quite differently. Diet has been a temporary protocol on which we embark to experience permanent changes. Sometimes diet change evolves into a new lifestyle, but not for the majority. When it comes to diets and new years’ resolutions, 46% of people maintain their goals up to 6 months and only 20% make it to 2 years. Two years is pretty impressive, but even that is not so valuable if you return to the old habits. Therefore, a diet is short-term, temporary, and typically ineffective; while a lifestyle is long-term, permanent, and effective.
So, undoubtedly, the first key to unlock transformation is to change your lifestyle instead of embracing a new diet. This is a lot more challenging than gearing up for a diet plan. As a culture, we are used to instant gratification rather than investing in our future. Successful lifestyle change requires vulnerability, conviction, preparation, and practice.
Vulnerability: What is my current lifestyle and how do I want to permanently change it? Habits shape lifestyle. Identify your habits and make strategic goals to change them.
Conviction: Why do I want to change? What could happen if I decide not to change and continue in this pattern? What will the benefits be if I change? Education builds conviction. This last year I have informed you how the food you eat impacts your body. Decide the lifestyle of nourishment that you want based upon the truth you have learned.
Preparation: What do I need to do to change? This may be in the form of more education or perhaps accountability along the journey. I am excited to serve you in this way!
Practice: How can I start today? Lifestyle takes time to change because you are building something sustainable. If you choose to say “yes” to an old habit, don’t think it will be easier to say “no” tomorrow. Practice today how you want to live tomorrow. If you choose to say “no” to an old habit today, tomorrow it will be even easier.
As you answer the questions within these four concepts, you will move towards lifestyle change rather than another diet. Next week, we will look to another key to pair with lifestyle that will equip you for transformation!