image of stone steps, a metaphor for taking small steps on the journey to quitting sugar

Yes you CAN do this!

Many factors go into successful behavior change, including knowing what you want, setting up systems, planning for obstacles among them. While all those things are important, the belief that you can change is probably the most important.

Beliefs play a major role at every stage of behavior change, and especially at the beginning. First, you must believe that it is important to change – not much can happen without that. This is usually tied to why you want to change and is a key motivator.

But shortly behind the belief that change is important, is the belief that you can change or achieve a different result than you have been. Believing that you can change, or can take action to better your circumstances, is sometimes referred to as “agency.”

Having personal agency is having the power to direct your intentions and actions to create something different in your life. We all have this power.

You have this power.

Now, when it comes to behavior change, especially around healthy habits like upgrading your diet and exercise, there can be powerful forces keeping you from changing, namely, your own brain!  The brain’s main job is to keep you safe, and maintaining the status quo is safe. That’s a primary reason why habits are hard to break: if you’ve done something before and you didn’t die, then the brain thinks it’s safe to do again (hello ice cream ;).

The other main reason why habits can be hard to break is that the brain tries to conserve energy. The brain uses an enormous amount of energy making decisions in our day-to-day lives, so tries to make habits very quickly so we can stop thinking about it. It requires energy to make a change (thinking new thoughts, making plans, etc.) – so you’re not “lazy” per se, your brain just doesn’t want to make the effort to figure something else out.

Once we understand this about our brains, we can then start to master the change process by coaching ourselves: Hey brain, I know you don’t want to go for a walk right now, but I do. Let’s just step outside and see what happens.

Breaking down a big effort (like getting into better shape) into the smallest possible action that won’t meet resistance (taking a short walk), is an effective way to start the ball rolling. If you’ve been a couch potato and tried to get in better shape by spending an hour at the gym 5 days per week, you’d likely run out of steam after a few weeks because you’re relying on will power rather than the strong base of habit.

As the proverb goes, A thousand mile journey begins with one step.

And you can definitely take one step! That’s agency!! That’s choice!! That’s freedom!!

So even if you don’t have a rock-solid belief that you can run a marathon, I’ll bet you can muster the belief that you can put on your sneakers and go for a 10-minute walk.

What can you do to take one step closer to your goals? Today?

If you’d like to take one step closer to quitting sugar, then a baby step you can take is joining me for an upcoming free masterclass called “Let’s Talk About Sugar!” In it you’ll learn:

  • Why sugar is so bad for you
  • How much is too much
  • What makes it so hard to quit
  • How you can start cutting back with minimal cravings

Just visit the Events page to choose a day and time that works for you.

Or, if you already know you want help, you can find a time on my calendar and we’ll figure out your next steps together. You don’t have to do this alone!

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