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Biggest Obstacles to Achieving Health Goals Part 2: Struggles With Consistency

by: Raegen Barger RDN, LD, IFNCP  |  January 29, 2024

In a world where we expect immediate feedback and change to occur, having to put in consistent efforts over weeks, months, and years can be a tough pill to swallow. But consistent practice of desirable habits & behaviors is the proven solution to achieving health goals. 'Quick-fix' solutions do not yield sustainable results and can even be detrimental at times.

Consistently practicing habits and lifestyle behaviors to support your goals will create long-term, permanent and sustainable change. Changing habits is about creating a ‘new-normal’ so that this becomes the way you live your life. Habits like, for example, brushing your teeth before bed is something that you have consistently done for years without thinking about it. You make your way to the bathroom every night with very little thought around it. However, for most people, things like healthy eating and exercise are less automatic and require conscious thought. Our clients who have achieved their health goals, as well as maintained their progress and results long-term, are those that have worked hard on forming new habits. They have made healthy living habitual and automatic. So how can you get there?

Having A Clear Why Is Imperative.

For most people, a doctor saying “you need to lose weight” is not enough to incentivize someone to lose that weight & also to maintain the weight loss afterwards. However, let's say your 'why' is that you yourself want to feel more alive and have more energy to play with your kids or grandkids, or you want to be able to comfortably walk miles while exploring a faraway land. Those are factors that carry a lot more weight and when making choices, you can directly connect more deeply with the why. This motivates you to continue on your health journey.

Stop Focusing On Elimination.

In private practice, we frequently see clients aiming to immediately stop “all the bad” habits which only leads to overwhelm and frustration. Instead, focus on how new, desirable habits can be added to current habits. Habit stacking is pairing a new habit with an already established one and an excellent way to incorporate small desirable habits more seamlessly into your current routine.

Understand “The Habit Loop”.

A very simplified explanation of this is: there must be a trigger, or cue, that initiates the habit loop, for example, your alarm clock in the morning. This trigger puts into motion the next stage of the loop which is the routine; for example, you get up and take a shower, followed by breakfast and coffee. This cycle would not continue without a reward for completing the routine. The reward for getting up and taking a shower is feeling fresh and awakened, ready to tackle the day. The reward is what successfully completes the loop and makes the habit automatic. However, it requires repeated consistent behaviors to form the habit or alter a current habit. For a deeper dive into how habits are formed and changed, I highly recommend the book ‘The Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg.

One Shift At A Time.

Trying to make large sweeping changes at once can lead to overwhelm and frustration, and it can become more challenging to maintain consistency. Although, an individual may need to address several areas to achieve their long-term health goals, focusing on one area, and one new habit, makes being consistent much easier. Focus on one or two habits to start, and build on from there. Let's say that currently your breakfast is low in protein and you know that eating a protein-rich breakfast sets the tone for the day: it lowers the chances of sugar cravings, and supports energy & mood throughout that day. Swap in a protein-rich breakfast first and then after a couple of weeks feeling confident having tackled that, move onto making your snacks balanced so you feel calm (not hangry!) going into dinner. These small changes made consistently are so supportive of health goals like blood sugar balance, optimal weight, and so much more.

Consistency is such a big barrier to achieving health goals, which is one of the reasons why we created The Being Collective, which we view as an extension of our 10-day Blood Sugar Reset programs. You'll receive hundreds of satiating & balanced recipes created by our dietitians; weekly coaching calls with our team to learn more about how to support your health goals; meal plans & automated shopping lists; a strong community support and more! Join us today!

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