Remember how I said I was clearing off screenshots and whatnot from my phone? This was something that hit me like a ton of bricks:
Well, it doesn’t get any clearer than that, does it?
This happens to me in meditating. I love my Calm meditation app. And I will go long stretches of using it every single day, for months. Then something happens. I miss doing it for a few days, and then I fall out of my routine. It no longer is a habit.
When it comes to eating, there are a couple of different ways of thinking about this. I mean, look at the word “diet.” It can have two completely different meanings. There is ‘diet’ in the clinical sense, as in, “this person eats a mainly vegetarian diet.” In this case, Diet means the ongoing way we eat.
Then there is ‘diet’ in the common usage – used a description for a short-term plan, as in “She went on a 21-day no sugar diet.” (I’m going to capitalize the word meaning long-term usage just so we can keep them separate). So, what are your goals? Do you have long-term life goals that are affected by Diet? As in, are you looking for ways to maintain health long term? What are your short-term goals? And how are they affected by how you eat? Do you need a short-term diet for an event or competition?
What I want to do as a Nutrition Coach is to help people break down their goals into daily practices or habits that will get them to that goal. If those goals are long-term, then that will require habits. And those habits have to be ones that people can do for a lifetime. They have to be simple, so when people do fall off the wagon, which will happen, it is simple to get back on again.
When it comes to short-term goals, what’s needed aren’t habits, it is a detailed plan with a clear beginning, end, and defined goals. It’s a list of actions, dos and don’ts. When the short-term goals are met, then it is time to look at whether it makes sense to turn parts of it into daily practices, and to let other pieces go. Those daily practices can become the habits that sustain you long term.