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Changing Habits

How to make lasting changes and how to make small changes in small steps that form lasting habits.

I will explore in this blog post how to make those changes in your life that you might have been putting off. Perhaps the idea of change is overwhelming, or you might not realize that you can make changes in such small steps that you'll barely notice them.

A very good friend of mine who lives in the northwest, who's been with me for much of this journey and has been very candid about her own experiences of dieting and trying various fitness approaches over the years (to various degrees of successes in, in the long term) said something recently that just really struck a chord

We were talking about the Live Yourself Better approach and how it promotes the idea of making small, lasting changes.

My friend said, “you know, this approach reminds me of the story of The Hare and the Tortoise...'

And I thought about it, smiled, and replied “that's absolutely perfect.”

For anyone who doesn't remember the story, the tortoise races the hare and is victorious, and the moral of the story is that slow and steady wins the race.

Now, I do recognise that for some people, this might be a frustrating approach. That’s where individualising the approach for different clients is really important. I listen to what you want, and work with you to achieve the results, taking into consideration what’s specific, measurable, achievable, and realistic, in the timeframe.

It's also valuable to consider how this approach will last in the long term. Many kinds of diet and fitness regime are achievable in a timeframe but they are not sustainable.

And this is another key element of the Live Yourself Better approach. Sustainability.

It’s all very well implementing complete lifestyle changes, but how long can they last for?

I'm not saying that it has to be a drip, drip, drip process. I'm just saying that what we don't want to do is either set ourselves up to fail in the long run with regimes that can’t be maintained or set out to make sure vast changes to lifestyle that the very notion of starting the new regime is overwhelming enough to be a barrier to ever starting it.

There is also the ‘I need to live my life’ factor. If the idea of health and fitness becomes a chore or is completely incompatible with having a social life, or indeed, any fun, we will of course eventually stop doing it.

Diets don’t work in the long run. People who've lost weight on a diet, after a certain period of time, may have gained the original weight back, and more.

“The majority of dieters gradually regain any lost weight. Multiple studies have found this to be the case for all diets, whether changing macronutrient proportions of carbohydrate, fat, or protein. Research has shown that the more diet attempts you make, the more likely you are to gain weight in the future.

Scientists at UCLA conducted a review to investigate the long-term outcomes of diets to assess whether dieting is effective. The studies revealed that one- to two-thirds of dieters regained more weight than they lost on their diets. The researchers concluded: “In sum, there is little support for the notion that diets lead to lasting weight loss or health benefits.” (Psychology Today) Why Do Most Diets Fail in the Long Run? | Psychology Today United Kingdom

And then where's the health benefit in that? It was a short period of time of being at a certain weight and then potentially spending more years at an increased weight from where you started.

So, what can we keep doing?

Consistency and sustainability doesn’t mean you've got to pick one thing and keep sticking at that one thing forever -that's where variety comes in.

We evolve and change as life goes on and sometimes our abilities evolve and change and sometimes things like we might have an injury. We might have an illness. We might. increase our ability to complete something and then want to move on and challenge more.

That's a really important part of a program as well. You might become pregnant, you might enter perimenopause, you might experience some other physical, emotional or life change

And then in which case, of course, there needs to be a consideration around that when we programming for fitness.

So, it's not a case of 'you must do this every single day for the rest of your life'. Where I'm coming from is if we start small and gain the confidence within ourselves, then we begin to trust our ability to change, and we get a feeling of ‘yes, I can do this’, and, actually, more importantly than that, ‘what I’m now doing makes me feel good and it's impacting positively on all the areas of my life. Health and fitness isn’t terrifying. Nutrition isn’t scary.’

This is so much of a better position to be in than to just go at everything hammer and tongs, get rapid results and then six months later, exhaust ourselves and find that it’s a struggle to continue. This is where dieting becomes a rollercoaster, and we effectively go into battle with our own bodies which is an unhelpful and stressful way to live.

We must consider not only how we make the changes but WHY we make them. This is crucial to the success of any lifestyle fitness programme.

Why is it unhelpful to base results on weight goals alone? What measures could we use instead and how might this help us to reach our goals in a more enjoyable way? (…)

To hear more about Changing Habits, please tune into episode 3 of the Live Yourself Better podcast.

To find how I can work with you to help you to make lasting changes and achieve meaningful lifestyle fitness results. email me or visit my website

I offer a free 40-minute phone or Zoom chat, to establish your needs and how the Live Yourself Better approach can work for you.

Books mentioned in the podcast:

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Changing Habits by Daniel Wells

Image credit by bluelela</a> on Freepik

13 views2 comments


Unknown member
Oct 18, 2023

That's really interesting - the bit about small steps to build confidence. If we can see positive evidence of what we're trying to achieve, that makes it a lot easier to build new habits.

Tonia Trainer
Tonia Trainer
Oct 18, 2023
Replying to

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, and yes definitely, so much easier to break a task down with smaller steps and then it's helps with gaining confidence from seeing progress.

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