With behavior change, there are plenty of “action steps” to take before actually changing your behavior. The first step in this process is to track your behavior and get to know it (because you can’t really change what you don’t know!). Once you get to know your behavior better, you know how to better set yourself up for success.
Here’s an example: When I first started working out, I realized that if I sat down on my couch after work, it was all over for me, and I was almost 100% going to not work out. Because I tracked my behavior and realized what was going on as I wasn’t working out, I was able to create effective steps to help set myself up for success. Here are some of the different options I came up with: I would change into my workout clothes before I even left the office (getting into workout clothes is half the battle!), I would bring workout clothes to work and workout either at my work gym or go on a walk or run in the neighborhoods around work, or I would lay out workout clothes on my couch so I’d have to pick them up before sitting on the couch (win- they were already in my hand then!).
How we plan to set ourselves up for success can be hugely important in attaining the goals that we want.
Here’s another example: My dad has said over and over again that he doesn’t register thirst until he’s already pretty dehydrated (like headache-y dehydrated), but he felt stuck because he wouldn’t remember. Well, I’m a fan of not being a victim to the circumstances we find ourselves in, and I like proactive steps. So, I set a reoccurring alarm in his phone for 2 pm every day that told him to go drink water. Every day it went over, and he told me by about a month or two in he started to feel thirsty on his own right around 1 or 1:30 just because his body had been trained to want water at this time. Cool, huh? What an easy way to deal with the issue of not remembering to drink some water!
I set myself up for success by stocking my snack drawer at work with good foods, by trying to be proactive in dealing with injuries, by practicing gratitude, and by changing my language to healthier phrases and words. I do meal prep on sundays so that I have meals ready to go after I work out! Pre-cut veggies are there for easy, go to snacks.
As you work on behavior changes, I challenge you think about what you need to do to set yourself up for the best chances of success! What can you do to try to take away or decrease the excuses or plan ahead in being proactive? What mental health choices do you need to make to help impact you in other areas of health?
Now it’s your turn to share! Do you have any little tools or tricks for setting yourself up for success in terms of health behaviors? What’s a time you’ve been successful at setting yourself up for success in the past?