Breaking Bad Habits? Do the 3 x 3!

January 6th, 2015 1 Comment Tags: , , , , , ,

It’s game time folks and back to reality from living in La La Land of late. For many the past month has been chocked full of fun, food and frolic without the fitness. At some point, something’s gotta give as you plan to get back on track. Don’t you think?

Journalling Journey – Have you decided to start a food & activity journal instead of hopping on to that fad diet treadmill of old? Good for you, that’s a perfect way to start the New Year off right! Instead of putting your food under the microscope, put your eating behaviour under it and take the pressure off. Listen up as I explain an easy approach to nudge you in a healthier direction:

The 3 x 3 Triad - Research shows that it takes about three weeks to adopt a new behaviour to the point where it feels natural. If you choose to change one every three weeks, in one year you’ll change 17 habits. Research also shows we can change up to three new behaviours at any one time. Theoretically that means you can take on and change three things every three weeks. Think about it: if you follow this 3-by-3 religiously, in one year you can trade 50 unsavoury foibles for positive ones. Imagine!

Be Flexible – Although scientists say it can be done, you don’t have to be so rigid. Let’s be realistic and take the pressure off. When working on easier challenges, take on three at once. For the more difficult ones, though, focus on one at a time. Be good to yourself and use a moderate approach. You’re looking for small successes to beget larger ones. You’ll eventually feel like you’re soaring.

Easy Approach – If you’re seriously pondering making some changes this 2015 consider keeping it simple by doing the 3 x 3. Don’t give dieting another thought. Review any diet: most are so dramatically different from your current regimen, they are almost impossible to adhere to for the long haul. There are often so many restrictions you feel hungry, listless, cranky, deprived plus most don’t pass my Thanksgiving Dinner Test while they have you make 10 – 20 (or more) significant changes that feel so unnatural to do all at once. Ditch dieting for good!

Make a List, From Easy to Hard – Review your journal and create a list of behaviours you feel you need to change, from easiest to hardest. Review your list and plan to start with the easy ones. Years ago when I tried this, I wasn’t ready to make any changes to my food choices so I focused on eating behaviour instead. This totally kept me motivated, on track with zero feelings of deprivation!

Time to Make Goals – Decide how many new habits you want to change – up to three – and write out goals for each in your journal. Focus on accomplishing these until they feel second nature for at least three weeks. Review and reflect how you are progressing weekly.

Review, Reflect & Reframe – If after three weeks you feel these new behaviours have become second nature to you, congratulate yourself. You’re ready to move on and set new goals to adopt new behaviours – again, up to three. If you’re not quite ready, reframe your habits and keep working on them until they become automatic. Continue following this process on an ongoing basis.

Food For Thought, Ideas to Propel You Forward – Consider working on some fundamental behaviours such as daily visualization, thought stopping and dressing presentably to keep your motivation sizzling. Ensure you include an activity goal as you progress. Ensure you also address your hunger and fullness cues, sitting down when eating, using a dish and utensils and slowing down your eating pace. These are key if you routinely eat on the run with distractions.

For more details on using this approach refer to my ebook, Skinny on Slim The Little Black Dress of Diet Books.

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