So you decided to start a new diet today, but day 1 didn’t go according to plan…
Don’t worry! Failing is all a part of the process, you’re truly doing ok – I swear.
It really is just human nature. We learn through experience.
But the trouble lies when you don’t take time to reflect WHY something did or didn’t happen the way you wanted it to.
Here’s what you do when you’ve just buggered up day 1 of your new diet:
1) Look at why it happened
- Were you hungry, did you pack enough food?
- Did you not enjoy the healthy food you picked out?
- Were you not sure how to say “no” to yummy offerings?
- Did you crave something that wasn’t ‘healthy’?
If you’re anything like me, you probably packed yourself a healthy soup for lunch and nutritious snacks like nuts and fruit, thinking you were set for the day…
Only to end up demolishing everything by 10am and STILL feeling hungry.
That’s ok. Take a minute to jot down why you think you fell off the wagon. It can be as frank as ‘I hated the healthy food I packed. I hate soup, why did I pack soup???’.
2) What did you do well today?
Goals are achieved through daily habits, and our brains develop habits to help us autopilot through the every day mundane activities like having to eat several times a day.
Goals are also multifaceted – meaning you usually have to attack something from more than 1 angle. For example, the goal ‘to be healthy’ covers diet, fitness, mindset, sleep, health etc.
So let’s take a look at everything you did RIGHT today.
Here are some examples to get you thinking; you:
- Brought food to work
- Planned your meals
- Counted carbs/calories
- Made healthier food choices
- Checked the ingredients
- Took the stairs instead of the lift
- Didn’t give in to your usual temptations
Or, if you had totally forgotten that today was going to be the day you start afresh – give yourself some reminders. Sometimes we just get stuck in our daily routines and forget we wanted to do things differently.
Ways to remind yourself of you new habit or goal:
- Label your alarm clock with your intention for today
- Put a sticky note on your mirror (“Today is the day I make healthier choices!”)
- Write down your plan the night before & leave things in view (i.e. exercise gear in front of your bedroom door)
- Send yourself an email
3) Record your progress at the end of each day
Using a habit tracker is a great way to keep track of your progress. Just remember: yes in an ideal world, every day on your habit tracker will be ticked off – but life happens and you don’t always get it done.
Don’t fret if you miss a day – just keep going and REFLECT on why it got missed. Don’t dwell, just reflect, learn and move on.
Remember Dory’s words, “just keep swimming”!
Start small with your new daily habit. If you’re ambitious like me you think changing your lifestyle can be done in a day, which leaves you disappointed when it doesn’t happen.
If you find yourself missing or skipping several days in a row, something is going on. So scale it back. Make it so easy that you’re likely to do it automatically. Then, start to build on it.
Aim for 7 days at first.
For example, if your goal is to eat 50 grams of carbs (or less) a day (a.k.a. The Ketogenic Way of Eating), start by aiming for 250 grams of carbohydrates a day. It might only mean one less piece of toast, rather than giving up EVERYTHING to start with.
Then, the following week you can drop it to 200 grams of carbs, down to 150 the next week, and 50 the next. Whatever works for you.
If you’re struggling, make it easier on yourself.
The goal here is to start a new daily habit and to do it often enough that it becomes automatic. That way you’re automatically behaving in a healthier way without having to think about it.
Why daily habits?
Because of the compounding effect. A 10 minute walk every day will have a positive effect on your body a year down the track. But sitting on the couch for those 10 minutes instead will have the opposite effect…
4) Review your progress every week
Back at the beginning of this post I mentioned how failing is a part of the goal setting process. It’s natural, it’s helpful, it’s how you grow.
But it only serves a purpose when you reflect on WHY it happened.
Some questions for you to ponder at the end of the week:
- What worked well this week?
- Why did it work?
- What didn’t work so well this week?
- Why didn’t it work?
- What will I do differently next week?
5) Practice positive, useful thinking
You’ll often find that your biggest barrier is your mindset.
This is because thoughts have a physiological effect on your body. Whatever you think up will have an effect on your moods and physical condition.
When you find yourself procrastinating:
- Think, if you were to do it (your daily habit), how would you do it?
- What step would you need to take first? And what would you need to do next?
For example if you’re laying on the couch watching netflix and your daily habit is to prepare food for dinner, you’d imagine yourself sitting upright, turning off the tv, then head to the freezer to grab some meat…
Once you finish visualising what needs to be done, you’ll find it that much easier to get started because you’ve already done it!
When you find yourself saying “I can’t be f*cked”:
“I don’t want to”, “I can’t”, “I have to do something else before I can start” – sound familiar?
If these statements are floating around in your mind, it’s time to flip your inner dialogue.
Tell yourself the direct opposite: “I do want to”, “I can”, “I have everything I need to make a start”.
It can also be helpful to remind yourself why: “I do want to go for a 10 minute walk because I always feel good afterwards and I’m being healthy by doing it”.
Start laughably small with your new daily habit
Just like how I add things to my to-do list after I’ve already done them – just so I can tick it off. It feels good making progress.
The aim here is to get you doing something small each day. Eventually it will become automatic and that new healthier habit of yours will have a compounding effect over time.
Your new daily habit can even be as short as 5 minutes a day on the treadmill. What’s that, like two songs?
I love using the 5 minute rule because you’re usually so chuffed with yourself for actually doing it, that you keep going. And anything longer than your 5 minute goal is a bonus!
Before you know it you’ll be close to reaching your goal and you’ll feel so damn proud of yourself for making a start today.
With that in mind – what ARE you going to do differently today?