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I couldn’t believe it! As I was writing my first draft for this post, one of my students emailed me and said, “I would like to be a habitual person. I have not practiced my skills since I left class. I felt from my history this would be the case. I can’t tell you how many things I have subscribed to and not used. I had a gym membership for a couple of years that I paid for and never used, a marketing program that I did not use and so on. It’s just crazy frustrating.”

Although I’m writing this post on healthy eating, you can apply my formula to any habit or goal you want to make stick. I chose to use healthy eating as an example because it has been the focus of many conversations I have had with women recently.

It is crazy frustrating when you don’t stick to your goals

You have good intentions. You’re highly motivated. You have big hopes. You’re excited. You tell yourself, “This time it’s going to be different. I feel it!” And then, life takes over. You don’t have time. You have other things to deal with. People need you. You’re exhausted. You simply can’t be consistent—again!

You’re not the only one. Most women I talk to experience the same frustration.

I’ve been there. I’ve done that.  

I don’t have a short answer when people ask me how I have stayed consistent for 14 years with following the same food plan; eating no sugar, flour, or wheat; weighing and measuring my food; and maintaining my weight loss. I do have a long one.

I do the work.

It takes a combination of having the right information and the right support, doing the spiritual and the emotional work, and planning and staying organized. Eating healthy is also very high on my priority list because I have had lots of health problems, and I inherited unhealthy behaviors and tendencies from my parents. I know that living, loving, and leading at full power, which is my life’s mission, is only possible when I eat healthy.

I absolutely cannot stay in my power and live as the beacon that I was born to be if my lifestyle does not support that.

What’s the first step to eating healthy? A blank piece of paper and a pen.

Eating healthy doesn’t happen by itself.

Eating healthy takes attention, intention, and planning.

I believe in the power of one-page planning.

Start with a blank page. Write down the 9 questions I present below and answer them.

One page, no more. Make it short, clear, and strong.

The 9 questions you want to answer to set yourself up for habitual success

  1. What is the goal/habit you want to form?
  2. Why would you like to create it?
  3. On a scale of 1-10, how important is it for you to do it?
  4. What’s the first step?
  5. Is your goal realistic?
  6. Is your goal doable?
  7. How are you going to measure your success?
  8. What’s your timeframe?
  9. Who can support you?

The first three questions are the game changers.

Eating healthy must be high on your priority list, and you must have a solid “why” in order to be successful.

Let me demonstrate:

The first example has no solid WHY. Not high enough on your priority list. Don’t even start.

  1. What is the goal/habit you want to form?

    Making better choices with food 

  2. Why would you like to create it?

    My husband keeps telling me I need to lose weight.  

  3. On a scale of 1-10, how important it is for you to do it?

    6

The second example is much better! See the difference?

  1. What is the goal/habit you want to form?

    Making better choices with food

  2. Why would you like to create it?

    I want to be able to feel lighter and freer. I know that when I eat food that nurtures me, I am energized and focused, and it brings out the best version of me.

  3. On a scale of 1-10, how important it is for you to do it?

    8

Don’t go past the first three questions unless you have a solid “why,” and your number is higher than 7. Otherwise, drop this goal, and work on a different one.

Here is how what the whole process looks like.

  1. What is the goal/habit you want to form?

    Making better choices with food 

  2. Why would you like to create it?

    I want to be able to feel lighter and freer. I know that when I eat food that nurtures me, I am energized and focused, and it brings out the best version of myself.

  3. On a scale of 1-10, how important it is for you to do it?

    8

  4. What’s the first step?

    Planning my menu for the week and shopping for the ingredients

  5. Is your goal realistic?

    Yes

  6. Is your goal doable?

    Yes

  7. How are you going to measure your success?

    I am going to hang my weekly menu on the fridge. Next to the menu, I am going to hang a picture of the one shelf in my pantry and one shelf in my fridge with all the ingredients I need for the week.

  8. What’s your timeframe?

    Menu planning is done by 7 pm today. Grocery shopping is done by noon tomorrow. Menu and pictures go on fridge by 3 pm tomorrow. 

  9. Who can support you?

    I have shared my goal with my support team: my friend Cynthia, my husband, and my sisterhood.

Please note that meal planning and grocery shopping are just the first step.

Healthy eating won’t happen unless you plan when to cook…and then you cook!

As you can imagine, I’m very busy. I mentor. I teach. I write. I create. I host and monitor a few online communities. I travel for teaching and speaking.

Grocery shopping and cooking time always go on my weekly schedule first. Without good planning, I wouldn’t have been able to maintain 14 years of eating healthy.

Would you like to get my support with your quest to eat healthy, exercise, or upgrade your lifestyle?

Go to the Beacons of Change Facebook Page. Post the answers to questions 1, 2, and 3. I’ll offer tips, and guide you on your next step.

Let’s work together to help you be consistent and habitual, so you can live, love, and lead at full power.

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