Michelle Murdolo, MS, RD, CDN

Most of us have old behaviors we would like to change and new habits we would like to incorporate. So, why do we find making these changes to be such a challenge?! Typically, to change a behavior we need to break a habit we’re currently involved in AND incorporate new habits that are not always familiar or easy for us. Even simple changes take time and can be difficult to maintain.

Changing your behaviors can be challenging when your actions are not aligned with your goals. If your goal is to have a homecooked meal three nights per week, you must also be willing to take the action steps to create that meal three nights per week. This can be impacted by a busy schedule, emotions, energy level or even just the desire to complete the task. Try starting with a simple meal and adding one additional night of cooking each week or every few weeks. As you become more comfortable with the behavior, increase the amount of time and number of days spent in the kitchen. Pick meals that you are excited about, so you feel motivated to cook. Behavior change does not have to be all or nothing.

Another factor that can impact your ability to make a change is how you handle setbacks. Do you become fixated on your perceived failures, or are you able to move on and continue down the road of behavior change? When we can understand that setbacks are natural and part of the process we are able to move on, continue to make changes, and are more likely to achieve our goals. Start with small, achievable goals and celebrate your accomplishments along the way.

Behavior change starts with a desire for something to be different, but it requires motivation, action, and repetition. Start by setting a goal and decide what actions you will take to make it happen. Make sure the goal is realistic for you and build on it over time. Before you know it, you’ll have created new, healthier habits.

Michelle Murdolo, MS, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian nutritionist who guides patients through their bariatric surgery and weight management journey. She comes from a background of eating disorders and disordered eating and emphasizes body positivity and health.