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plantCreating a new habit – either to replace a bad one or an entirely new behavior – is a tough thing to do. Habits are deeply engrained and mostly unconscious. But if you’re aware of the negative consequences of a habit and it’s bothering you, then there is an opportunity to create something new in its place.

Remember, to break a habit you must do one of two things:

Creating a healthy habit is changing the behavior itself.

Along my own weight loss journey I’ve had to change more habits than I can count. My decision to lose weight was an acknowledgement that many of my behavior patterns were getting in the way of my new goal. One at a time I started examining them and trying new strategies. There was a lot of trial and error, and goodness knows there’s always room for improvement, but those strategies mostly serve me well and I offer them to others without reservation.

Though I’m not much of a gardener, I equate creating a new habit with planting something new in the garden. Seedlings are tender and must be given good soil with the proper nutrient mix, adequate water and sunlight, and enough room to grow. They need time to establish roots and gain strength. If you neglect them or fail to provide the proper environment, they will die. But if you attend to them regularly and ensure that they have everything they need, they will flourish.

Creating a new habit is much the same. It requires thoughtful attention, some planning and preparation, and of course time. Nurturing your new habit will give it the opportunity to develop roots and grow strong.

Creating healthy habits – either where a bad habit previously existed or an entirely new behavior – is essential to permanent weight loss. If we cultivate those healthy habits thoughtfully, they will thrive.

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