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What's the best way to start a diet?

Congratulations! You are on the verge, about to transition from planning to action, from being an armchair hopeful to a self-changer. Here we go:
  • Select a start or “go” date. Research highlights the value of beginning within a week of completing your plan. Pick a day with fewer-than-usual pressures so that your start day is less stressful. That will enable you to commit those willpower muscles to your diet and not squander your effort on lower priorities.
  • Make it special. Plan to start on a day that signifies a new beginning (first day of week, month, or year), a meaningful personal date (birthday, anniversary), or a day when fellow resolvers are ready to start too.
  • Share the news. Publicly announce your goal. A public commitment is stronger than a private declaration.
  • Mantra for a week. What’s the mantra, slogan or image that will lead you? Now’s the time to generate it -- or him/her. Sometimes the mantra or slogan proves to be an inspirational person. As Virgil wisely advised, “Follow an expert.”
  • Start off with a bang. William James, the American philosopher and psychologist, insisted that “securing success at the outset is imperative”; in fact, “failure at first is apt to damp the energy of all future attempts, whereas past experiences of success nerve one to future vigor.” The upshot: start strong and fast. Begin when you, your change team, and your skills are at full force so that you secure success at the outset. As James put it, “our self-feeling is in our power.”

Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions

More About this Book

Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions

Is there a scientific formula you can follow to change your life? Change is hard. But not if you know the 5-step formula that works whether you’re trying to stop smoking or start recycling. Dr....

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.