Have you had an intention to improve your health and wellbeing? It might have been a goal to eat 5 serves of vegetables a day, get to bed by 10pm or walk 30 minutes a day.
Yet some time after setting that intention, you realised that you never started. Sound familiar? So, what does it take to convert an intention into action?
Only 3 steps from intention to action
There are many internal (attitudes, beliefs, self-trust) as well as practical aspects to putting an intention into action. In this post I am concentrating on three of the key steps required.
#1 Make time
Now making time might seem an obvious one, but it can trip up all of us at times.
As I explore in the Eating for You book, we all only have 24 hours a day but often try to squeeze more into it.
Depending on your intention, you have to decide what is the best time of day to make it happen.
For example, if you want to get to bed by 10 pm, then you need to remove the activities that you are doing from 9 pm onwards.
This way you can create a really nice ‘get ready for sleep’ routine.
However, if you want to complete a 30 day yoga challenge, you might decide that first thing in the morning is the best time. So you need to create a spare 30 minutes before your other morning activities such as showering and eating breakfast.
If you need to create the time by getting up earlier, then you might have to go to bed 30 minutes earlier too.
#2 Focus on the benefits on your intention
To be successful with an intention or goal we really need to embrace the benefits of making a new choice.
Again, this is not surprising, but unless we focus our mind, we might find ourselves dwelling on the negative aspects of giving up an old habit.
Our mind moves rapidly and we are not always conscious of our thoughts, beliefs and decisions.
Research suggests that we make 200+ decisions a day about food, but might only remember about 16 of these.
So, when we are making food choices, we need to be mindful and focussed on the benefits of our intention to eat 5 serves of vegetables a day for example.
Our mind could remind us how nourished and energised we feel after eating a fresh salad or bowl of lentil soup,
Or it could tell us it is easier to eat snack foods as preparing vegetables is not worth the effort.
Which inner voice will you listen to?
Does it make sense that we have to be aware of our decisions about food to focus on the benefits?
#3 Reward yourself
The benefits of acting on our intention are reinforced by acknowledging our progress.
Say to yourself, “Well done, you did it!”
Too often we focus on what we are not doing, rather than what we are achieving.
You might also like to consider a more substantial reward that has meaning for you e.g. visit a park, go to the beach or meet a friend for a cuppa.
Acknowledging your progress gives you confidence to keep going and to try new things.
We can have many eating habits that we want to change,
And we can have many more that we are not aware of.
Would you really like to change your eating habits?