The Green Mountain approach is about gradual, permanent change over time. It is perfectly natural to encounter unanticipated situations and find your energies temporarily diverted from the health goals you established while you were here. In addition, many times the transition from the structured, supportive environment of Green Mountain to everyday life can be challenging.
Indeed, we know one of the biggest challenges our participants face when they return home is about where to start. We worked with you while you were here to identify your primary barriers to healthy living and a healthy weight. In our “Sustain the Change” class, we encouraged you to write down the three changes you wanted to start focusing on. Now that you’re back home, look at that again and re-evaluate if needed.
Remember, we’re not aiming for perfection. If you can implement just a few of your goals, you will make huge strides towards a healthier, balanced lifestyle.
Any time you feel the need to re-evaluate or begin again to put your healthy living plan into action, consider this process.
- Revisit the changes you would like to make in the three areas we address at Green Mountain.
- What I want to change about my eating ___________________________
Examples: Eat breakfast, follow the Plate Model, eat every 3-5 hours, etc.
- What I want to change about my physical activity ___________________
Examples: Walk at least 3 days a week, stretch 5 mornings a week, etc.
- What I want to change about my attitudes and behaviors _______________________
Examples: Establish a daily meditation practice, practice thought-stopping, take an arts & crafts class.
- Choose a maximum of three changes that you want to begin addressing at any one time. These changes can all be in one area, if that appears to be the most pressing area of concern for you. At some point, however, if change needs to occur in other areas, too, work them into your plan.
- Avoid overwhelming yourself. Small changes, built one upon another over time, can add up to something big. If you can only focus on effectively changing one thing at a time, you can still end up much closer to your goals at the end of a year. Compare that to previous start-and-stop efforts where you took on too much and what you accomplished as a result.
- As you accomplish changes, you can add new ones to address. You may find, however, that as your big challenges are overcome, other areas fall into place naturally, or at the least, much more easily.
- Cultivate an attitude of patience.
- Remember that perfection isn’t possible, that effective change is like a game of Chutes & Ladders. Some days you’ll climb up the ladder; other days, you’ll drop through a chute, taking you backwards. Success comes as we continue to try. Failure results from giving up.
- If you feel like you’re falling through more chutes than you are taking steps up, it may be time to re-examine your focus. Are the changes you are working towards the most important ones to help you achieve your goals? If you can’t figure that out by yourself, our Sustain the Change™ program can help.
- Live your life now, not putting it on hold until you achieve a certain goal.
- Find things you like to do and look forward to that support your goals. For example, taking a dance class or a creative arts class for your soul.
- Social support is an important predictor of success in making changes. Find people, groups, who share your dreams and can help you stay motivated to achieve them.
- We know many of you have formed email groups with the women who shared your experience at Green Mountain. Keep those important and caring conversations going!
“Habit is habit and not to be flung out the window by any [wo]man,
but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.” ~ Mark Twain