Psst! The secret to making lasting, healthy changes

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You know the drill. When you decide to implement healthy changes in your routine, you reach deep inside yourself to summon all the willpower you possibly can. You hope you have the discipline to get to the gym, to take a weekend run, and to resist the potato chips your husband insists he needs to have in the cupboard.

But researchers from USC say willpower is difficult to rely on. Instead, it is more important to develop habits when making big changes.

Why?

Because habits are lifestyle decisions made without deliberation, debate, and thought. They are part of a routine, so they are easily carried out, even if we are tired or hungry.

So how can you use this information to successfully implement some healthy changes in your life? Pick some simple behaviors you can make into habits. Here are some examples:

  • When you make lunches for your kids, wash and dry fruit for the following day. Store it eye level for healthy snacks
  • Think through your menus for the week every Sunday, and purchase fresh foods to make them
  • Experiment with a new, healthy recipe each Sunday evening
  • Begin every Saturday with a brisk walk in your neighborhood
  • After you tuck the kids in, spend 20 minutes every Monday and Wednesday doing a few strength training exercises
You get the idea. Create habits that are easy to achieve. Do them until they are second nature. Easy, right?

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