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Best Self Talk for Behavior Change

What we say to ourselves sets the stage for most of our behavior. Thus, I am a huge fan of slogans--those phrases that sum up a whole way of approaching the world with just a few words. Here are two I use most often with my clients in the midst of creating new habits and healthy lifestyle behaviors:

IF YOU FAIL TO PLAN, YOU PLAN TO FAIL. Originally adopted from a saying by Ben Franklin, this gets to the core of what trips up so many people. I hear quite often "I didn't have time to make dinner after my meeting", "There were no healthy options at the party" and "I woke up too late so I couldn't exercise". When we know something is coming up, prepare in advance. If you have a busy schedule one day, freeze a meal from batch cooking the week before. Defrost in the fridge the night before and all you need is a quick heat up the moment you get home. Look up the restaurant menu in advance. If you are going to a party, ask what will be served, bring a dish you like to eat or eat before you go. Make a deal with yourself to set a timer to cut off computer or TV at a certain hour so you can get to bed and wake up on time. Whatever tends to derail you, take a look in advance at how you can overcome that obstacle and plan for it. STRUCTURE DICTATES BEHAVIOR. I don't know who said this (maybe I made it up!). Bottom line is, how we set up our environment will most often determine how we behave. If I have fresh veggies cut up and in the front of the fridge, I am much more likely to eat them. If I move my alarm clock out of reach and have my sneakers and work out clothes ready the night before, I am much more likely to use them in the morning. Set up your environment to support what you want to be doing and you are more likely to do it. What slogans work best for you?

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