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Changing anything in our lives takes a lot of willpower. Not only do we need to have the drive to do it, but we have to have the know-how and the ability to keep our goals in the forefront of our minds and take the small steps needed to get there every single day. If we aren’t always working toward bettering ourselves and our lives, it is very easy to become stagnant and lose our grip on the things we are doing that take us forward and fall back on bad habits that will hold us back.
While the Paleo diet works in a simple way, the fact is that without discipline, it will not work for you. The benefits of course, will remain, but if you aren’t able to say no to your vices and begin to make changes in your life that you are able to stick with, there is really no point in reading any further. Unless, that is, you want to learn how to change that!
There are several great resources on helping you to change your habits and develop a better lifestyle. We all have great potentials we can work up to, and if we are always able to see the gold at the end of the rainbow, then it can be extremely easy to keep following the path to get there.
A lot of people give up before they even begin because it can be very daunting and difficult to do a big overhaul of our lives. It is hard to change the things that we are used to. We become emotionally attached to our lifestyles and certain things that release endorphins in our bodies, like foods that have a high sugar or fat content or other things that are addicting for similar reasons.
But we do not have to be addicted to bad foods and enable ourselves to make bad choices because of them. If we are going to manage our lives better and become the strongest versions of ourselves that we can possibly be, we need to hold ourselves accountable for shaping the habits that we develop to improve our lives. We can’t blame anyone else for our health, especially once we reach a certain point in adulthood where every choice we make about our health comes down to the ways we manage our money and our time. There are some things in this world that are beyond us to control. We can let those sorts of things go. But we cannot let go those things that are within our grasp. We just can’t allow ourselves to change for the worse because that is the easier thing to do, or give up before we even begin or before we have formed real, true new habits to replace the old ones.
In most cases, the key to developing new habits is patience and persistence. We have to know what we want, keep our eyes on the prize, and just go for it without apologies and with no turning back. So what if your friends or other family members don’t want to go paleo with you? Who cares if other people are around you making the same bad choices that you just vowed off? That doesn’t give you permission to turn your back on your goal.
Those people are making their own choices, which is perfectly fine for them. However, you have set a goal for yourself that you know will better your life, and you can’t be swayed by peer pressure or enable yourself to go back to a vice and claim it’s because everyone else is doing it. Have some self-respect and hold yourself accountable for the choices you are making.
If you want to eat healthy, clean foods and enjoy the paleo lifestyle, you can do it alone or you can do it with the support of those around you. In either case, you have to be doing it for the right reasons. Do things for yourself. For your own betterment. If you are only doing it to lose weight or to impress others or to jump on a bandwagon, chances are high that it isn’t going to be a lifestyle that sticks. It will be just another fleeting phase in you life and you may be reminded later of that thing you tried once but didn’t follow through with. Remembering the things you don’t do to the absolute best of your ability can be a stressful thing. We can feel shamed when we are reminded. We feel guilt for not treating our bodies as well as we know we should have. And those feelings can spiral into a pit of self-pity or depression that can sometimes lead to even worse choices.
Avoid that! Work on making decisions for your health and sticking to them. If you don’t, you will have a sense of stress because we should be able to stand proud and say we did the best. We should feel pride in knowing that even when we hit a roadblock or we had a temptation and fell off the wagon, we managed to pick ourselves up and keep heading in the right direction because the choices we make are important and we are important too. We deserve to live in good health, eat good foods that nourish our bodies, and be proud of ourselves for sticking with the choices we make.
Easier said than done though, right? Habits are difficult. They are neurological. They are psychological. If we have roadblocks that are preventing us from fully caring about ourselves and our choices and the impact that we have on the world around us, then those roadblocks will certainly show up and derail your efforts at developing a healthier lifestyle. So how do you avoid those types of roadblocks? What can we do to identify them and stop them in their tracks?
First of all, it helps to really stop and think about the things that we are doing to help ourselves versus the things we are doing to hurt ourselves. Make a list if you have to. Think everything through carefully. Are you getting enough rest at night? Do you drink enough water? Do you exercise daily? Do you do cardio weekly? Are you keeping your living space in a clean, hygienic condition? Are you focusing on your mental health and clearing away toxic relationships so that they aren’t cluttering up your life and making you doubt your own worth?
All of those things are actually very important to address if you are hoping to start making better choices for yourself and sticking with them. If you are constantly bogging yourself down with negativity, and you aren’t putting your own mind, body, and health first and foremost, developing better habits is going to get very, very tricky.
If need be, think about why it is that you aren’t doing everything you want to be doing. Was there somebody in your life who told you that you shouldn’t be concerned with yourself? Do you feel like you are worth a better life? If you suspect there may be a deeper rooted issue when it comes to your ability to make changes in your life that will impact you positively, then don’t despair. There are several resources available to those who want to sort through the reasons they do not want to make better personal choices, or why they don’t feel good enough.
Some of these options include going to counseling, speaking with a life coach of some sort, or simply doing some specific meditations that will help to guide you toward the issue and find some resolution. Understanding yourself is the single greatest way to begin making life-altering changes that will really last. Holding yourself accountable to those choices is just as important. If something is important to you, you can’t just let it go. You have to fight to hold on to it and make sure that you are taking charge of making that important thing a priority in your life. Nobody else is going to do it for you, and to be truthful, most people will actually make that more challenging.
Everybody has their own opinions and needs and they may even be making demands of you. All of those things can be distracting when it comes to trying to get something accomplished. You have to have the confidence of knowing that the choices you make are important enough to you to follow through with, no matter who might be in the room disagreeing or judging you, or simply living in their own habits without understanding how tempting those vices might be.
Developing new habits can take anywhere from a week to a month, depending on how adamant you are about sticking with the new routine and how often you are able to practice it. The best way to begin to implement a new habit is to make it your priority and to stick with it every day at approximately the same time. Routines are something that humans seek out; these types of ritualistic behaviors are easy for us because we are programmed to seek order for our survival. If you are able to get your meal plans around and eat at approximately the same time every day, it is going to be that much easier for you to stick to this habit.
If going paleo is something entirely new to you, it is best not to jump right into it. You should start to change one habit at a time. For example, if you are completely addicted to refined sugars, try to wean yourself off of those first and get yourself comfortable with the slight change before undergoing the larger one. That way you are more comfortable during the transition and you don’t lose your resolve. It is important to stay on track!
That’s why, if you end up slipping up and missing a day or eating something you know you shouldn’t, you should correct yourself as soon as possible. otherwise you can easily fall back into the bad habit instead of strengthening the new one you are trying to create. Don’t start feeling sorry for yourself or angry or upset about it. Accept that it happened, that you are human, and that you can do better. Then do better! It’s not impossible, it’s a matter of making a choice and sticking with it no matter what. The most important thing about building a habit is to remember that it takes time. Don’t think about how difficult it might be to go a long period of time struggling not to eat things you know you shouldn’t. think about the days you have succeeded and focus on one day at a time. That is the most effective way to get your goal accomplished. Don’t try and do the whole thing at once, or get caught up in the big picture. Just think about the little choices you have to make day to day and make a conscious effort to make the right ones!
As the previous chapter mentioned, building new habits can be tough, but it is always possible! It can be difficult, however, and many times we need a system to help us to stay on track. Building a habit is one thing, sticking with it is quite another. To make sure you don’t fall off the wagon when it comes to developing your paleo lifestyle, you are going to want to take tremendous care to get back on the horse on those days where you might slip up and say, “What will one time hurt, I have been doing so well!” Sure, a one time slip up can be a nice indulgence, and in moderation any unhealthy lifestyle choices you make may be less damaging than if you were making those poor choices all the time, but you do not want to get in the habit of excusing yourself for doing things that you know, in your heart of hearts, is going against a very specific goal or lifestyle that you have in mind for yourself.
If you tell yourself it’s okay to indulge once, you might want to indulge again later, and soon whatever self-control and discipline you had managed to summon will be lost. It’s a slippery slope when it comes to staying true to a new lifestyle, and if you aren’t willing to put the work in, you will never get the results you desire.
However, if you are willing to hold yourself accountable, whether by journaling about your paleo journey or by making charts detailing your pitfalls and your success stories, you are that much closer to making it something so easy that you do it without even missing the way you once lived. The days of indulging in things that are bad for you will feel almost like a bad dream. It’s like someone who has quit smoking and hasn’t touched a cigarette in about ten years will sometimes say that it seems like a whole other lifetime ago and they can’t believe they ever did it in the first place. The same is true of going paleo. If you are willing to put in the time to make this work for you, someday you will look back on the bad choices you made for your health and feel horrified and perplexed at what you had been thinking all that time.
Journaling can be a great tool. If you are writing down your victories and the things you have had a hard time with, you can make a plan to deal with those difficulties at a later time. Writing about your journey can help you understand what things might cause you to crave certain foods that you know are bad for you. That way, you can avoid triggering events and focus on making sure you remain in situations that allow you to make the healthiest choices possible for yourself.
If you are craving something processed, for example, you can try the old bait and switch; think about the thing you are craving and equate it to a healthier alternative. Maybe instead of eating a cheeseburger from a favorite fast food restaurant, you could try a leaner meat burger instead. You can easily find bread alternatives or create wraps out of lettuce. You hardly miss the bun.
Bread alternatives come in all shapes and sizes. Flax seeds can make impressive alternatives to bread. There are also other gluten free options that might work for you. Just make sure you are doing a good job at reading the labels to the foods you eat before you eat them so you don’t end up making a mistake that could cause your body confusion.Other Details
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