How many times have you vowed to eat better. Exercise more. Lose weight. Get stronger. Sleep more. Yet somehow you fall short. Why is that? There can be a number of reasons why your good intentions towards healthy behavior failed. Rather than focusing on that, below are some strategies to promote healthy behavior change. You need to change your environment in order to change your behavior. This is called stimulus control. “Stimulus control in an important modification and motivational strategy that involves altering the environment to encourage healthy behaviors and make following the modification program as easy as possible. Stimulus control is related to operant conditioning, as it refers to manipulating the stimuli in the environment to trigger the behavior of exercise or healthy eating.”
1. Lay out your workout clothes, socks, shoes for early morning workouts.
2. Keep a gym bag in the car with all the necessary items (clothes, shoes, yoga mat, water bottle, towel, etc.)
3. If you decide to join a fitness center, find one that is the direct path between work and home, and then schedule work out times that coincide at the times you will be driving past the facility.
4. Socialize with people who live healthy lifestyles. That way you create a support system for behavioral change with others who have similar interests and goals.
5. Stick to your grocery list and don’t buy items that are not on the list. Not having certain foods in the house makes it easier to adhere to eating healthier.
6. Post signs in your kitchen….on the refrigerator, cabinets, pantry…. listing foods that you should eat.
7. Wear or bring comfortable shoes to work so you take the stairs instead of the elevator, or so that during breaks you can take a walk.
8. Leave your cash at home so you don’t make impulse buys on snacks, etc. Pack a healthy lunch/snack and bring to work.
9. Remove the candy bowl from your desk.
10. Join a group that engages in physical activity together (running/biking/hiking/walking club).
As we say at Girls on the Run, “Be yourself. Have fun. Try your best.”