This year I’ve been focusing on my health and wellbeing. A big component of that has been changing my diet to be more healthy.
Introducing change is difficult, whether it is at an organisational level or to our personal habits. People can be very resistive to change and skeptical of whether or not it will deliver benefit, and our unconscious mind can do the same and sabotage change that we want to enact for ourselves.
Know your why and keep it front of mind – Have a clear benefit that you want to get out of the change. Loosing weight or feeling better are benefits, but they are too far removed from the day to day food decisions that will help me get there. Instead I focused on an activity that I love, hiking, and how improving my health would enable me to enjoy this more and to do more challenging hikes. I kept this ‘why’ on the front of my tracker card in my Trello system as a motivator.
Separate the actual change from other aspects – Change management tells us not to entwine the change you are trying to effect with other aspects of business. With regards to diet, for me this meant not equating entertainment or socialising with food. Or more accurately, unhealthy food. I learnt to enjoy eating with company without needing to indulge in the fattiest thing on the menu, and skipping dessert didn’t mean I was missing out on any of the discussion.
Don’t try to change multiple things at once – This year my focus is on health and wellbeing, and I’m using this to guide my day to day choices. This means that sometimes the healthiest choice I can make conflicts with saving money, especially when I’m eating out or don’t have the time or energy to cook something both nutritious and cheap. Last year was my year for personal finance, and I’ve made the mental shift to prioritise differently this year.
Have confidence that you are capable of change – Humans are hugely capable of adapting to their surroundings. Usually this means becoming accustomed to a certain level of comfort or even luxury, but it can be the other way around and you can adapt to having less. In terms of diet this might mean less treats, but you will get used it and when you do have the occasional donut it will taste so much better!
Embrace change – Eventually, as the pain from the initial change subsides you can lean into your new state and actually embrace the things that you couldn’t appreciate before. Nowadays my favorite foods are ripe autumn figs, avocado with a pinch of salt and marinated artichoke hearts. Instead of the ‘contended’ feeling after stuffing down a bowl of pasta, I appreciate better gut health and a much more settled stomach.
Have you found any positive attitude changes that have improved your diet habits? I’d love to hear them in the comments!