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What's holding you back?

How to identify and overcome the causes of unhealthy habits

You know what you want to achieve - a weight loss or fitness goal, an aim to quit smoking or cut down on alcohol - but you're finding it difficult to get started. Sound familiar?

Knowing what's getting in the way is just as important as knowing what your goal is. Life can be busy and making a healthy lifestyle change might feel impossible in the beginning. Understanding what’s stopping you from achieving your goals is an important first step, which may take some serious thought and self-reflection.

Talking to one of our Coaches can be a great way to help draw out some of these thoughts, identify the obstacles you’re facing and work out the best ways to overcome them. There are also practical steps you can take on your own to identify and get past your triggers for unhealthy habits:

Keeping track

Keeping a record of what’s going on whenever you do the thing you're trying to change (such as smoking or overeating) can help you to get a clearer picture and move forward.

For example, if you smoke to relieve stress, you could keep a record of all the times you feel stressed. Noting down what was going on at these times – where you were, the situation, who you were with, what you were doing - will help pinpoint what has happened to cause stress in the first place.

Another example: if you wanted to lose weight but sometimes felt out of control when eating, a diary can help. Writing down all the circumstances – can help uncover the root cause. Is there a pattern to when this happens? How are you feeling when you're out of control (tired, bored, stressed, hungry)? Have you eaten enough nutritious food to keep you feeling energised? Or simply gotten into a habit of doing the same thing each day? Keeping track will help answer these questions and work out what to do next.  

Taking action

Once you've kept your diary for a week or two, you might see patterns and clues about what steps you need to take next. For instance, if a specific situation always causes stress, you can work out how to spend less time in that situation or pre-empt feelings of stress and deal with them differently. Or, if you find your eating is out of control at certain times of day, or aren't eating a nutritious, balanced diet, you can make a plan to address that issue directly.

Knowing why you're doing what you’re doing can be half the battle. Once you've identified what’s holding you back, you'll be in a better position to start making positive changes.

Create your healthy living profile today to unlock personalised guidance and start your diary. Contact us to find out how one of our Wellness Coaches can help you take your next step to LiveWell.

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How does this work?

The tailored approach LiveWell Dorset uses to come up with solutions to the things that are stopping us achieving our goals, is based upon work done by University College London developing the COM-B model of behaviour change. In this model, all behaviour is influenced by understanding a person’s capability to change, their opportunity to change and their motivation to change. By understanding which of these is the biggest barrier to change, we can tailor support accordingly. This model of behaviour change is at the centre of the support we offer, online and in person.

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