Setting Yourself Up for Health and Success


Change. Some of us eagerly commit to healthy changes, while a portion of us quietly revert back to hard-to-break unhealthy habits and behaviors. There are several reasons people do this:

  • They possess an all-or-nothing attitude. They create lofty resolutions that are either unrealistic or not easily accessible, and when they are unable to reach them, they give up because of that “go big or go home” mentality.
  • They have an ideal end in mind, but are unable to think of alternatives.
  • They have an inability to visualize the process. In other words, they know what they want (i.e., to lose weight, to be more organized, to have better money-management skills), but cannot outline the steps it takes to reach those goals.
  • They struggle with making their goals more abstract rather than concrete and tangible (i.e., lose weight vs. lose 4 lbs. a month; be better organized vs. will maintain calendars for personal/work/family events)

So, even though you may already feel like you are doing all you can to just keep up, here are some reminders of how you can maintain good habits or even create new ones:

  • Be realistic—For example, it is not very realistic (or healthy) to lose 15 pounds a month. One or two pounds is a much more attainable goal.
  • Let go of the black-or-white thinking—Success is not about perfection. Visualize different scenarios of what success looks like in your life. This will also require you to be kind to yourself and remember that there will be good and bad days, and that you can reach your goals if you persevere through the negative times.
  • Relish the process—Of course, the majority of us would love to have that magic wand that instantaneously transforms our wishes into realities. Since this isn’t the case, outline doable steps to reach your goals (for example, exercising 3 times a week, eating more green vegetables, and cooking more homemade, whole-food based meals in order to lose 4 lbs. a month; cleaning out one room per weekend for the next 2 months and donating and throwing clothing/magazines/mail that are no longer needed in order to create a more organized home environment). Take it one day at a time and celebrate even minor accomplishments. Share your success with friends, buy flowers for your house, take some time to chill with your favorite person or book, or get a much-needed massage.
  • Make your resolutions concrete, tangible, and measurable in some way—A good question to ask yourself is “How will I know when I have reached my goal?”.

About Author

Dr. Dana Shafir

Dana Shafir, Ph.D., LPC, completed the Health Coach Training Program through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and owns and operates Dana Shafir Wellness. Dana serves as the Resident Nutritionist for Strategy Magazine. Learn more at, or follow her on Facebook or @doctordshafir on Twitter.

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