The Secret to Successful Lifestyle Change (…its not what you think)

The secret to lasting success with lifestyle change boils down to the acceptable level of “pain” you’re willing to tolerate. Illness brings pain. Change brings pain. But if the pain of the change is greater than the pain associated with the illness — you’ll never change. For my “left-brainded” folk, here’s an equation to sum it up:

PAIN of Change (wellness) < PAIN of staying the same (illness) = SUCCESS

I don’t care how many health blogs and influencers you follow, once the perceived reward for the change is low (i.e. the pain is high), the information you’ve collected to date will never be put to good use.

And this isn’t some hairy-fairy theory. I lived it! I followed every single influencer, read all the blogs, knew the theory around what to do for my PCOS, but I was never able to do it. The change came when I balanced the equation and made the pain of the change less than the pain of the illness through 1) having a goal i.e., “STRONG WHY” 2) having a simple yet effective plan , i.e. “STRONG PLAN” and 3) developing and iteratively improving a system to stick to the plan, i.e. “STRONG SYSTEM”.



Step 1: Have a Big, Outrageous WHY

Why are you on this journey? If your why is fickle, you will likely not stick to it. You need a big, outrageous for reason for doing this. Usually, outrageous whys look outside oneself.

Weak why: “To have a snatched waist and look like celebrity x”

Outrageous why: “To live healthy to provide for my aging parents as they navigate their health challenges”

Sometimes we need a reminder of why we should pursue health and wellness, like:

  1. A healthy lifestyle can lead to improved physical health, including a stronger immune system, reduced risk of chronic diseases, and improved energy levels.
  2. A healthy lifestyle can also improve mental health, including reduced stress, increased happiness, and improved sleep quality.
  3. A healthy lifestyle can increase lifespan, allowing individuals to live longer and enjoy a higher quality of life.
  4. A healthy lifestyle can improve physical appearance, including weight loss, improved skin and hair quality, and increased muscle tone.
  5. A healthy lifestyle can increase productivity, as individuals have more energy and focus to tackle daily tasks.
  6. A healthy lifestyle can improve relationships, as individuals have more energy and positive outlook to connect with others.

I can attest to 5/6 of these improvements in my own life (#3 is really tbd, right?) since I moved to a “nouriched” lifestyle!

Step 2 : Keep Motivation Constant and Salient

Once you’ve established your why, you gotta keep it top of mind! This is where motivation comes in. You’ll need to break that “why” and align it to some bitesize workable goals, have some accountability to remind you of the vision when it wanes (as it often will) all undergirded by a “can do” mindset as defined below:

  1. Understand what you want to get out of your lifestyle change, by setting clear and achievable goals. Having a clear sense of purpose and direction can help you stay motivated. Make sure your goals are achievable and realistic, and break them down into smaller, manageable steps.
  2. A good way to keeping motivation constant and salient is to surround yourself with positive influences – other people on a similar journey as you. Surrounding yourself with positive, supportive people can help you stay motivated and on track. Seek out mentors and surround yourself with people who inspire and motivate you.
  3. Keep a positive attitude: A positive attitude can go a long way in helping you stay motivated. Focus on the things that bring you joy and happiness, and cultivate a positive outlook on life.


Step 3: Reduce pain through effective joyful, planning

Planning can be a tedious and overwhelming task, but it doesn’t have to be. Stay organized and positive about the changes you are about to embark on. Carve out time to plan the changes you want to make. For example, you won’t start eating more salads tomorrow if your kitchen is overrun by snacks and has no vegetables today. Once you’ve set your goal to eat more salads you’ll need to set some boundaries around the goal “I will eat 1 salad per day” is a gracious goal, for example.

Next you’ll need to plan HOW you’ll actually accomplish that. Will you make a salad bar on the shelf of your fridge? Will you buy a store bought salad or use a meal prep service? Will you need to do a kitchen purge by throwing out the junk food? Will you need to shop for the ingredients? Have you identified salad recipes you can confidently execute? These are all guiding questions you’ll need to ask to plan effectively.


Step 4: Trust discipline to carry through steps 1 through 3

Motivation is balanced by disciplined. The two are like dance partners. To maintain success, we want discipline to reign when motivation wanes. Think about it, when you were 3, you had to get pretty motivated to use the potty. Stickers and reward charts etc (not that you remember, but your mama prolly does). After a while it became a habit – a discipline. We no longer get stickers and praises when we go to potty (unless we are working on your IBS, then yes, we celebrate every poop here at Nouriched!); its just routine.

Discipline too, can be a joyful experience – but only when we have the right systems to support our goals. Routine gets easier when we:

Develop systems and processes that build discipline and that we can stick to for the long haul.

Celebrate small victories along the way and acknowledge your progress.

Involve others to hold us accountable, share experiences and help us to develop the systems and plans that work for our way of life.

Focus on your “why”. Keep your end goal in mind and focus on the joy that achieving it will bring. This will help you stay motivated and inspired throughout the planning and executing process.

Step 5: Identify your Stumbling Blocks

Developing a strong system only works if you understand the reasons your plans fail. Mark my words: plans will fail. The important hallmark of success is to get up, and try again. Therefore, as best as possible, try to identify the areas of your life that interrupt your plans. Name them, graciously acknowledge them and come up with “micro-plans” on how to pivot around them.

Does all this sound overwhelming? Don’t want to do it on your own?

I’ve worked for years on my “Eat, Move, Rest” framework for PCOS management and reversal. Its not only the framework I use, but what many of my clients have used to successfully manage and reverse their PCOS symptoms.

The STRONG PLAN is simply this: “eat, move, rest”. That’s it. The magic comes when we figure out how to do that uniquely for your PCOS drivers and current lifestyle constraints and preferences (i.e. your “STRONG SYSTEM“). That’s where the Nouriched framework comes in!

Do you need help with clarifying your why and putting a joyful plan and systems in place for your health goals? Working with me as your health coach will give you just that! Go ahead, use the link in the menu bar above to book a FREE call with me today!

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