If you've had trouble sticking to a diet or keeping up with an exercise program, maybe it's because your head wasn't in the game

According to Netscape, when it comes to changing any kind of behavior, you have to be mentally ready first. That's because there are five stages the brain goes through as it prepares for change. If you don't pay attention, you could get stuck in a stage that gets you nowhere. Here's how it works. Stage One is:
  • Pre-contemplation. This is where you have no intention of changing. It sounds like, "I'll never give up ice cream."
  • Stage Two is: Contemplation. This is when you intend to change, but not right now. Your inner voice is saying something like, "I'll give up ice cream once I find a good substitute."
  • Stage Three is: Preparation. This is where you're ready to change within the next month. That's because you've decided, I'm going to start losing weight right after my birthday. Or as soon as I get through all the ice cream in the fridge, or after the holidays. You're anticipating the commitment.
  • Now you're ready for Stage Four: Action. This is actually changing the behavior. The ice cream has been replaced with a substitute, and hey, it's not bad.
  • And the last stage is: Maintenance. You've carried out the new behavior for at least six months to two years, which means the ice cream's no longer in the house and you don't even miss it!
These stages show how our power to resist change is so strong at first. In the beginning stages the cons far outweigh the pros so you have no incentive to change. But if you know that going in, you can change your way of thinking. Prepare a response to your inner voice that says this change might be inconvenient, expensive, boring or difficult. Be specific about what you are trying to overcome. If you say "I want to lose weight" that's too general. Instead, break it down, "I want to lose weight so I can look good at my reunion and I'll start by not eating ice cream every night." Now you're talking!

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