To strengthen your motivation for a healthier lifestyle, use these tips and strategies so that your new desired habits will be not only successful but sustainable, too.
- Be aware of time: After years– or a lifetime– of your current habits, it may take substantial time and multiple checkpoints to establish new behaviors. Allow 3 weeks for the novelty and initial challenges of a new habit to wear away. Allow 3 months for a new behavior to become routine. Allow 6 months to consider “old” habits replaced.
- Start with your “why”: Identify your intrinsic reason for wanting to make a long-term change instead of focusing on just the short-term outcome. For example, replace “I need to lose weight” with “I want to be healthy for years to come, and I know that losing weight will help me manage my health.” By determining your personal “why” and feeling that you “want” to establish new behaviors creates much stronger determination than feeling you “need” to change.
- Make SMART goals: Creating a SMART plan is crucial to success with new goals. You will progress more effectively by outlining certain parameters for new behavior.
Specific: Not just “eat healthier,” but “eat more fruits and vegetables”
Measurable: How many portions of fruits and veggies in a day?
Attainable: Do you currently eat 2 portions and want to increase to 4 portions, or 10?
Realistic: Do you like lots of fruits and veggies? Do you know what one portion is?
Timely: How long do you want to track this specific behavior before reevaluating?
- Know your kryptonite: as you strive toward new goals, think about your anticipated barriers and what you can do to overcome them. Are you an emotional eater? Find an alternative outlet to stress rather than turning to food. Is attending happy hour for drinks and apps a weekly routine and inhibiting your health aspirations? Maybe opt for happy hour every other week, and propose to walk with someone on the alternative weeks so you can maintain that social aspect.
- Try, try again: if you don’t like something new on the first try, don’t rule it out right away. Give it a few chances to let your initial reactions subside. Are you trying to eat more veggies but only like corn (which isn’t even a vegetable)? Instead of putting Brussels sprouts on the reject list within the first bite, give yourself a few chances to expose yourself to them before officially saying yes or no.
- Find the joy: Ultimately, you will continue a behavior if you find it fun and enjoy the process. You are creating a new habit to improve a certain aspect of your life, and your well-being will not be improved if you are constantly faced with defeating thoughts or possibly physical pain. The most sustainable behaviors are ones that you enjoy!
How does Kale assist you in creating changes?
Once you commit to creating healthier habits, partnering with Kale Personal Chef Services can help you overcome some of the most common lifestyle barriers.
- Lack of time: let the Kale staff plan your menus, do your grocery shopping, prepare your meals, and take care of the clean up. The only time you will have to dedicate to food is enjoying it!
- Lack of skills: having Kale’s professionally trained chefs prepare your food takes the pressure off of you to provide meals that are appealing and tasty and nutritious. Our chefs will have fun applying their culinary expertise to create your meals!
- Lack of knowledge: do you have a lifestyle goal but don’t know where to start or how to achieve it? The members of the Kale team, from chefs to dietitian, will apply their professional judgement to best support your health and help you understand the process.
- Lack of access: Kale’s services minimize the uncertainty of having nutritious meals available to you. Since meals will be supplied to you directly, the worry of hunting down high-quality food and specific ingredients is eliminated.
- Lack of support or aptitude: from the start of the process, the Kale team is happy to serve and support you as you embark on making changes. You will be involved in making decisions at every step of the process, from indicating your food preferences, choosing your level of service, approving menus, and providing feedback on meals. We will encourage you in your journey to improve your health, and you will feel confident with your plan, even before you take the first bite!
By: Kirsten Mancosky, MS, RD