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How to Change Habits and the Cycle of Change

I’m a firm believer in everything in moderation, the minute you deny yourself something, is when the craving hits worse, right?  But sometimes it gets to a point where we have gone way beyond moderation and we need to make some changes! 

It’s never easy to change habits that have built up over years, and we only tend to want to change something if we know it’s bad for us, so if you want to stop smoking, eat more healthily, reduce drinking or exercise more, it helps if you understand the cycle of change every human being goes through to achieve their goals.

The Cycle

Initially we are unwilling to change, or maybe not even thinking about it, we then begin to consider it, we then plan towards it, next we start to take action and finally we get to a stage where that action is maintained and it becomes our norm.   Sounds simple?  The theory is simple, but the practice is far from easy, and it can take months or even years to make that change.

Take exercise for example.  We may not think about it at all, deeming, unnecessary, too difficult, unimportant or not relevant to our lives.  At some point, we realise that to lead a fit, healthy and longer life, perhaps we should do something.  So, we start to plan for it; maybe join a gym, enroll in a class or download a fitness app.  Having made the plan, we start to take action and incorporate it into our lives and then we maintain this new healthy habit.

Or do we?

Life has a habit of messing with our plans and all too often, work, personal circumstances and outside influences disrupt our best intentions.  When this happens, we often revert back to the unwilling/unaware or maybe the consideration phase and it may take days, weeks, months or even years before we think about making the change again.

Cycle of change

At any stage in this cycle, we may relapse and find ourselves back at the start, or perhaps we make all the plans to change but we never take action (this is very common and where the fear happens- we’ll save that for another blog!)

If you have managed to take action, try to at least stay in the planning phase.  Set a date to start again or try to maintain a little of what you started.  Enroll the help of a partner or friend to hold you accountable for your actions; once you have told someone your goals, or even better get them to do it too, the job gets a lot easier.

Keep it Simple

Don’t try to change too much at the same time though, you are setting yourself up for failure.  Pick just 1 thing to work on, even something as simple as one extra glass of water a day.  Have that extra glass at the same time every day for 2 weeks, 3 weeks, even a month. 

Can you do that? 

Once that has become a habit, change 1 breakfast a week to something healthy (scrambled eggs/green smoothie/quinoa porridge). 

Do that for a few weeks or a month then change another meal.  Why not check out some of my FREE recipe resources?

Keep it Consistent

Getting healthy is not a crazy 6-week juice and sweat fest, loose a stone, then put it all back on again.  Small consistent changes that you can stick to, will soon begin to add up.

Results Require Rituals

If you have had a lifetime of yo-yoing, you will have nothing to lose by taking the steady approach when trying to change habits.  Gradually throw in some exercise as you go (resistance training will really help with fat loss) and soon you will have built a strong foundation to success, with no end date.


Lifestyle changes are not easy and we all go through relapses – it’s only human to fall back to habits we have had for years.  As long as you keep trying, it is surprising how new habits can become your normal habits and relapses are just special occasions – parties, holidays etc! 

What next?

At GO Health and Fitness I will help get you through the fear and difficulty of change and keep you accountable to ensure the best possible results.  Can you use the #giveit10 success formula to make habit change even easier – 10 seconds, 10 repetitions or 10 minutes of consistent daily actions?

Every change makes a difference, even if you can’t see it out the outside, your body will respond.  In the ‘Giveit10 Habit Coaching Group’ we work on creating brand new healthy habits EVERY month – you can find out more HERE.

"I love Jen's Give it 10. They are so simple and easy to follow it means that they are in my head now all the time when I have a few minutes to spare. Whether that is waiting for the kettle to boil or waiting for my dog to stop sniffing every tree. Jen's give it 10 has now become a habit!"
Jane Binnion
Ethical Business Coach

Thanks for reading

Jennie Edmondson