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A diet plan is a recipe. When the ingredients are right, you can enjoy the taste of success. However, when some of the ingredients are off, dieting can feel stressful and problematic. A healthy diet is not only about the food, it’s also about keeping your mind in a positive state as you move through the motions. Everyone knows someone who has had immense success on a plan only to gain back everything they’ve lost after the momentum has worn off.

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When you prepare your mind appropriately, you set yourself up for success. Here is a list of ways to set your mind and keep it in a healthy space to keep your actions, thoughts and emotions all focused on success, health and ultimately, achievement.

1) Set Reasonable Goals

If you’re setting a mountain of a task before you, and you normally don’t set goals, expect that there will be a ton of effort required. Willpower is like a muscle. It takes practise to lift the big weights. Similarly, it takes the achievement of small goals to build up your self-esteem enough so you can accomplish the big ones. Go easy on yourself. You’ll go much farther. Set a goal that you know without a doubt you can achieve and work your way up from there.

2) Be Understanding & Loving With Yourself

I cannot explain how much I punished myself mentally and emotionally every time I “cheated” on a diet that I was trying. The guilt and the shame was so much, that it sunk my self-esteem far down enough that achieving my goal became impossible. When your self-esteem is low, it’s hard to feel like you’re worth the effort of making a positive change. If you associate your diet with deprivation, guilt and shame, you’re a lot less likely to want to continue long term. If you’re feeling like crap for eating chocolate when you weren’t supposed to, chances are it’s not the chocolate making you feel that way…it’s you! Change your thoughts about it. Feel better. Move on. You want these diet changes to feel good most of the time, so that you’ll be further inclined to stick to them.

3) Pick A Healthy Motivation

A motivation goes like this: “I want to lose weight because _____.” This is the driving force behind any diet change. It must be a strong one to ensure you stay motivated even when it gets tough. It is the reason you’re putting forth the effort in the first place. Many people, including myself, have a difficult time creating positive change because they begin their journey with something negative. For example, a negative motivation would be wanting to lose weight for the approval of others or because you “hate” the way you currently look.

If you want to lose weight so that others will like you, you’re affirming that you cannot be admired or liked as you are. If you try to get fit because you loathe the way you look now, then you’re affirming that you only love yourself when you look a certain way. Instead, try rewording your motivating statement. Focus only on that which you want to see. For example, “I want to look in the mirror and feel awesome!” or “I want to get fit because it feels great” or “I want to eat healthier because vegetables and fruits make me feel incredible!” Focus on the positive and NOT the negative. When you come from a place of self-love, it’s much easier to stick to your resolutions.

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4) Focusing On Removing Things From Your Diet Instead Of Adding

Instead of taking away foods that you likely have an emotional attachment to, saturate your diet with healthy fruits and veggies, and delicious, healthful dessert alternatives so that it becomes easier to let go of any unhealthy eating habits.

5) Poor Timing

Sometimes, the timing just isn’t right for you to let go of a food or habit. This was a big one for me. I went through a period of time where I felt depressed because of various circumstances in my life. I tried to feel better by cutting out junk foods entirely but I absolutely could not stick to my resolution. I can see now that junk food was one of the few things that gave me pleasure at the time. It was how I coped with my feelings. So by depriving myself of them, I felt much worse than I did before and therefore craved more junk foods to cope with the stress. I was trapped in a vicious cycle. If you’re finding yourself in this circle, rework your plan. Use the tips listed above and only when you’re feeling good and ready, then let go of your unhealthy eating habits or food choices.

When you pick a positive motivation, a reasonable goal, and you treat yourself lovingly your “bad habits” naturally start to fall away. It becomes much easier to avoid toxic people or foods because you love yourself enough to stay away from them. Your days become more enjoyable, your relationships improve and your entire lifestyle starts to change to support a healthier, happier you.

These are some of the tips that I find give me the most success in achieving my personal goals. What works for you? Write it in the comments below!

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