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Why You Don’t Always Make Healthy Choices

by Elise Museles

You’re smart and savvy. You’re reading this because you’re ready to rewrite the stories that you tell yourself about food. You’re ready to finally take the step from knowing into actually doing.

…because you really do KNOW what you should be DOING! You KNOW all about drinking more water and preparing your food on the weekends. You KNOW that you enjoy your meals more when you eat them at the table, rather than in the car at a stoplight. You KNOW that two cupcakes won’t make you feel the way a cup of Grandma’s soup will.

And yet…sometimes, it’s a struggle to bridge that KNOWING / DOING gap, isn’t it?

Not sure if you relate? Here are a few of the ways “KNOWING not DOING” sneaks into your day-to-day life: 

  • You KNOW that when “lights out” happens by 11 p.m., you wake up refreshed and energized…but every night, your laptop stays open far later.
  • You KNOW that you need to set aside time to go to the grocery store, to fill your home with healthful, nutritious food…but most of the week, you still order in.
  • You KNOW that indulging in sugary treats is a pick-me-up that’s going to drop you just as far…but every afternoon, you find your way to the candy jar.
  • You KNOW that if you don’t work out in the morning, it’s not going to happen (because of all the demands in your life!)… but every day, you let yourself sleep in.

If you KNOW so much about what you need (and you do!), why aren’t you DOING it and making those healthy ideas into your reality?

The answer is a simple truth: because while you care about your health, it isn’t always your top priority.

We’ve all been there, likely in every area of our lives. If the list above has you nodding your head in agreement, let’s make a commitment – here and now – to take a step forward from KNOWING towards DOING.

What does DOING look like?

  • Scheduling time into your week for activities that fill you up, such as coffee with girlfriends, a long run, or a mid-week matinee.
  • Finally signing up for that class you’ve always been interested in trying.
  • Noticing when you’re full/hungry/dehydrated/tired – and then making a healthy choice to change how you feel.
  • Closing the computer and putting the phone on silent at 8 p.m. every night.
  • Filling your cart with colorful fruits and veggies every time you go grocery shopping.
  • Setting aside an afternoon to prepare food that you can happily (healthily!) nibble all week long.
  • Treating yourself and your body with the same love and care you would give to a child – or to your best friend.

To help pave the way for the KNOWING-to-DOING journey, you have to be really, deeply honest about what makes you feel good. For me, that means writing it all down and holding myself accountable to my own list of “must-dos.”  

For example:

I know I feel better when I eat breakfast in the mornings.

I know I feel better when I make sure to drink enough water.

Your turn:

I know I feel better when ____________________________________.

I know I feel better when ____________________________________.

I know I feel better when ____________________________________.

There you have it: the things you know that you need to DO in order to feel (and look!) your best. You’re off to a fantastic start!

Now, let’s transform those things that you KNOW you need into things that you will actively DO. Using the list above as a reference, jot down the reasons why you aren’t doing those things. In other words, what prevents you from turning your knowing into doing?

For example:

I know I feel better when I eat fresh home cooked meals, but I never have time to get to the grocery store in the middle of the week.

I know I feel better when I cut down on caffeine, but I need my extra boost in the morning when I don’t get enough sleep.

List your reasons here:

I know I feel better when ____________________________________, but ___________________________.

I know I feel better when ____________________________________, but ___________________________.

I know I feel better when ____________________________________, but ___________________________.

Now that you KNOW the habits that support your health and happiness, and the obstacles that come between you and maintaining them, you’re ready to take the leap into DOING!

Write down a few ways you plan to take action, to step away from your excuses and move closer to the way you truly want to feel.

Here’s a quick example:

Instead of just telling yourself: I know I feel better when I eat a breakfast with protein and healthy fats…[but I don’t have time to prepare a meal every morning].

Skip the passive “but” and replace it with an active “so”: I know I feel better when I eat a breakfast with protein and healthy fats…so I’m going to plan out all my breakfasts for the week on Sunday. That means I can start every Monday ready to take care of my body and my brain.

Instead of just telling yourself: I know I feel better when I get to bed early…[but I have too much to do!]

 Step into action: I know I feel better when I get to bed early…so I’m going to cut the hanging tasks on my to-do list into small bites, and set aside an extra hour in the morning to tackle them. That means I’ll end each day with a sense of accomplishment, and get to bed on time, without guilt and worry keeping me up.

List your actions steps:

I know I feel better when ____________________________________, so ___________________________.

I know I feel better when ____________________________________, so ___________________________.

I know I feel better when ____________________________________, so ___________________________.

Now you’re ready to not just KNOW, but DO!

The best part about action is that it inspires more action. While the first step can be the most difficult to take, once you do, you instantly begin building momentum and start to move out of the “knowing not doing” space. When you stop just KNOWING and start actively DOING – as in, putting in the effort, committing, and making your health a top priority – you’ll finally experience the lasting change that may have eluded you despite your deep knowledge and most honest efforts.

Download your own “Go from KNOWING to DOING” worksheet here.

Ready to start? In the comments below, share a few of the key healthy choices that you KNOW you need to work into your life, plus your plan to finally DO them. Let’s inspire one another.

6 Responses to Why You Don’t Always Make Healthy Choices

  1. Kristyn February 2, 2017 at 2:48 pm #

    I know I feel better when I go to bed early and don’t stay up watching Netflix, so I’ll sit down to read a book and have my nightly tea when I feel tired, and then go to bed right after with NO screens!

    • Elise Museles February 2, 2017 at 4:37 pm #

      Love it! It is so much easier said than done, but I hope you can move from KNOWING to DOING. You will feel so much better if you do:).

  2. Sherrie February 2, 2017 at 5:41 pm #

    I LOVE this exercise — so helpful to me! I know I feel better when I stick to the Specific Carb Diet (for SIBO), so I will have SCD meals/snacks prepped and available to make it easy to follow every day 🙂

    • Elise Museles February 2, 2017 at 5:52 pm #

      Sherrie,
      I love that you are already taking action! Thanks for sharing here.
      xo

  3. Beverly Rosenstein February 3, 2017 at 12:21 am #

    I know I feel better when my meditation provides me with balance. Only with a good night’s sleep, a hearty breakfast & an open heart can I achieve this goal.

    • Elise Museles April 6, 2017 at 12:13 am #

      Beverly! I love how you put that and hope that you are able to go from KNOWING to DOING! xo

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