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You Can Lose Weight, One Small Habit at a Time

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Keep It Simple continued...

Create a trigger to remind you what to do. You may think of a trigger as something negative that leads you to an unhealthy activity. For instance, feeling sad can be a trigger to overeat. But a trigger can also be positive.

You can use a trigger to remind you to do your chosen habit. It can be as simple as setting an alarm or selecting a good place to stick a note.

You need a trigger that you'll notice, preferably at the time you've set to do the habit. To trigger yourself to drink water, for instance, you could:

  • Create a time on your calendar to "meet" with a glass of water.
  • Associate your habit with something you do every day. Whenever you turn on water to wash your hands, for example, use it to trigger you to drink water.

Keep Going and Going

Even when you have a specific, easy goal, a powerful motivator, and a trigger that reminds you to do your small habit, you may have moments when you're less excited about meeting your goal. That's when it's time to round up more reinforcements.

Support your new habit. Tell a trusted friend or family member what you’re doing, and ask them to remind you why you’re in this game. This might be the perfect opportunity for you to use Facebook or other social media.

Talk to yourself. If you feel tempted to skip a workout or eat something you decided not to eat, simple thoughts like, “I always feel better after I walk” or “That doughnut is not part of my plan” can help keep you on track.

Weight loss takes time. The small-habit approach won’t shed pounds overnight. But it can keep you on track without the jarring impact of a huge life change. Adding one small habit after another leads you to powerful healthy habits that you can use to keep your weight under control.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on November 14, 2013
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