Living a healthier, leaner life is all about the set-up. The set-up is how you will make changes. What are the unconscious, daily decisions you default to? Those are the ones you need to address. Setting yourself up for success involves a system called behavior design. Changing the way you manage your health requires changing your behavior, and behavior design provides the method:

ü  Motivation to change

ü  Ability to change

ü  Trigger to change

For example, a desire to eat healthier meals is the motivation to change. You create the ability to change by prepping the meal, measuring ingredients, and locating everything you need at the front of the pantry or refrigerator. The key is to not have to think too hard about the new behavior, making change low-key and pleasant. The trigger is provided by effectively honing in on your new option. Make a sign or remove all other options,  or whatever it takes to help you focus on your new choice.

Success will depend on your intentionality, and appreciation of the fact that you are designing your own healthy environment. This environment will facilitate easy, automatic, consistent change.

Here are some ideas for enhancing your healthy life design strategy:

Plan for healthy meals

·      Organize for easy prep. Declutter counters, and arrange pans and utensils

·      Buy smaller plates for better portion control.

·      Refresh and restock: Make healthy choices available, and healthy snack easy to access. Throw out the rest.

·      Keep healthy recipes nearby

·      Make grocery shopping a weekly ritual, and plan meals accordingly.

Plan for healthy relaxation

·      Make your bedroom a sanctuary. Blackout shades and earplugs are helpful.

·      Keep supplies for self-nurturing. Stock a detox bath and meditation reminders.

Plan for the outside world

·      Steer clear of danger zones. Literally. Drive a different road or walk another block, if those places contain anything that would disturb your health.

·      Be prepared for social pressure. Keep alternative snacks or meals at the ready, to combat unhealthy social eating.

Plan for exercise

·      Identify your obstacles. Clothes? Weather? Make back-up plans to maintain motivation.

·      Plan triggers. Couple something you like with exercise.

Read the full article here: Why Diet and Exercise Are Not the Key to Weight Loss and Health – Dr. Mark Hyman