One of the hardest things to do in life is not to come up with the healthier habits, but to follow through with doing those healthy habits on a regular basis to create a positive effect on your mental or physical health.

Do you really think I love getting up at 4:15am in the morning and hitting that pavement at 4:30am to get in 4 to 10 miles of running before I see any of my clients in the day? Of course not. Most of the time I’d rather roll back and go right back to sleep in that warm bed just like the rest of you. So why don’t I?

When I wake up in the morning and go in the bathroom, this is the first thing I see. These are the clothes that I’ve set out the night before for my morning run. (I know you are thinking, ‘no way Vanessa runs in mismatched clothes’ but remember it is dark and no one can see me.) I put out these clothes first thing when I come home in the evenings from work. That way these clothes are staring at me when I wake up, I put them on, walk into the kitchen, the coffee’s already made because I have set it on a timer, I pour half a cup, swallow it, my headlight and earphones are right next to the coffee maker, and I’m out the door feet hitting the pavement. Sometimes I’m even out the door before I am fully awake.

So, if you want to create a habit for yourself, make it easy on yourself. Set yourself up to succeed by getting all of the prep work done so the habit is easy to accomplish when the time comes. Set yourself up to succeed with following through with the new habit on a regular doable basis.

Don’t set yourself up to fail by wanting to do a habit you have no possibility of doing, not doing it and feeling like a loser.

For instance; you want to lose weight. If you find you are a snacker, realize you will have to be able to do something with your hands instead of eating those chips or nuts. Snacking on a regular basis will make you gain weight more than anything else. Sometimes it is just a busy activity between hand and mouth while you watch television or read. For instance, you can use blueberries or other low glycemic berries like strawberries or raspberries as something to put in your mouth one at a time just like you would a nut with very little caloric intake and actually a little vitamin C which will help you greatly. Another example is if you are a heavy bread eater, and you don’t want to eat bread then don’t have it in the house . Easy access creates overeating.

Give yourself time to perfect your dietary changes and your exercise changes. Do not expect anything to happen overnight. Do not expect yourself to be able to create a new habit in a week. Realize it’ll take a minimum of 3 to 12 weeks for you to create a new habit so you don’t have to think about it anymore. But be careful. You took years to get bad eating habits and/or lack of exercise habits so don’t expect them to just go away in 3 months.

You will have to work at these lifestyle changes on a regular basis to get a healthy lifestyle. But if this 200 lb. 13-year-old candy eating couch potato can do it, I know you can too!!