Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Food & Recipes

Font Size

Healthy Eating - Making Change a Habit

Tips for setting goals

  • Focus on small goals. This will help you reach larger goals over time. With smaller goals, you'll have success more often, which will help you stay with it.
  • Write down your goals. This will help you remember, and you'll have a clearer idea of what you want to achieve. Make a personal action plan(What is a PDF document?) where you can record your goals. Hang up your plan where you will see it often. It will remind you of what you're trying to do.
  • Make your goals specific. Specific goals help you measure your progress and adjust your plan. For example, setting a goal to eat 2 servings of vegetables each day is better than a general goal to "eat more vegetables."
  • Focus on one goal at a time. By doing this, you're less likely to feel overwhelmed and then give up.
  • As soon as you reach a goal, set a new one.

stk319124rkn_72.jpg

One Woman's Story:

"I didn't try to completely redo my whole diet. I focused on things that seemed reasonable at the time."—Dawn

Read more about how Dawn set goals.

3. Prepare for slip-ups.

It's perfectly normal to try to change a habit, go along fine for a while, and then have a setback. Lots of people try and try again before they reach their goals.

What are the things that might cause a setback for you? If you've tried to make lifestyle changes before, think about what helped you and what got in your way.

By thinking about these barriers now, you'll be better prepared to deal with them if they happen.

Some ways to deal with barriers to healthy eating

Barriers

Solutions

"It takes a lot of time to prepare vegetables."

  • I'll buy packaged salad mixes and precut vegetables that I can prepare quickly.

"Fruits and vegetables are expensive."

  • I'll look for fruits and vegetables that are in season so they cost less.
  • I'll buy frozen and canned fruits and vegetables when fresh produce is too expensive.

"I eat out a lot at restaurants."

  • I'll pick a salad or cooked vegetables for the side dish instead of french fries at restaurants.

Use your personal action plan(What is a PDF document?) to write down your barriers and backup plans.

rbf5_78_72.jpg

One Man's Story:

"I know the things that I like to eat, like baked goods, cookies, and stuff like that. I know that I'm never going to stop liking those."—Jeremy

Read more about how Jeremy avoids getting discouraged by setbacks.

4. Get support

The more support you have for eating healthier, the easier it is to make the change.

Tips for getting support

  • Get a partner. It will motivate you to know that your partner is doing the same thing and may be counting on you to help him or her succeed. That person can also remind you how far you've come.
  • Get friends and family involved. Don't be afraid to tell them that their encouragement makes a big difference to you.
  • Give yourself positive reinforcement. When you feel like giving up, don't waste energy feeling bad about yourself. Remember your reason for wanting to change, think about the progress you've made, and give yourself a pep talk and a pat on the back.
actionset.gif Healthy Eating: Getting Support When Changing Your Eating Habits

You can use your personal action plan(What is a PDF document?) to organize your support system.

200411048-001_72.jpg

One Woman's Story:

"It does help to have partners and buddies that are going through this."—Loralie

Read more about how Loralie got the support of her family and friends.

1|2|3

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 25, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Four spoons with mustards
What condiments are made of and how much to use.
salmon and spinach
How to get what you need.
 
grilled veggies
Easy ideas for dinner tonight.
Greek Salad
Health benefits, what you can eat and more.
 

WebMD Recipe Finder

Browse our collection of healthy, delicious recipes, from WebMD and Eating Well magazine.



bread
Recipes
soup
Recipes
 
roasted chicken
Recipes
grilled steak
Video
 
vegetarian sandwich
Recipes
fresh vegetables
Recipes
 
smoothie
fitArticle
Foods To Boost Mens Heath Slideshow
Slideshow