Happy New Year! One year ago, I began Balanced Health Blog as a way to share meaningful nutrition and health information. Learning how to interpret accurate nutrition and health information through earning my Certificate of Nutrition Science at Tufts has enlightened and inspired me to continue to make positive lifestyle choices.
One of the larger questions my colleagues and I discussed at Tufts was: if the benefits of a healthy lifestyle are so clear, why aren’t healthy behaviors more common and why are behaviors so hard to change?
This past year I started following James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits. In an excerpt from his book, he writes about creating identity-based habits. “The key to building lasting habits is focusing on creating a new identity first. Your current behaviors are simply a reflection of your current identity.”
In his article “Identity-Based Habits: How to Actually Stick to Your Goals This Year,” Clear describes three layers of behavior change:
The first layer is changing your outcomes. This level is concerned with changing your results: losing weight, publishing a book, winning a championship. Most of the goals you set are associated with this level of change.
The second layer is changing your process. This level is concerned with changing your habits and systems: implementing a new routine at the gym, decluttering your desk for better workflow, developing a meditation practice. Most of the habits you build are associated with this level.
The third and deepest layer is changing your identity. This level is concerned with changing your beliefs: your worldview, your self-image, your judgments about yourself and others. Most of the beliefs, assumptions, and biases you hold are associated with this level.”
For example, if you want to lose weight, become the type of person who exercises each day. This may mean setting your alarm earlier to get to the gym or for a morning walk. Enlist a workout buddy to keep you accountable and your identity is now the person who shows up three times a week (or more!) for a workout. If you need an accountability buddy, email me and I will be happy to hold us both accountable for our new habits.
Setting goals is an important step to changing a habit, but designing a plan to execute your goals is what keeps you accountable. A few month ago, I set a goal to meditate at least five minutes a day. This goal may seem achievable because it is only 35 minutes a week, but I found it hard to commit to a quiet time each day. The solution was to download an app on my phone and set a reminder. I have now created the habit of daily meditation.
This year, spend less time focusing on a possible result of a goal or action and more time focusing on the habits that prepare the way for the results. Happy 2020!
Quote of the week:
“Within you, there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at anytime and be yourself.” – Hermann Hesse
Recipe of the week: Quinoa Stuffed Bell Pepper
A delicious side dish or main course if you add the beans and cheese.
3-4 bell peppers tops cut, stemmed and seeded
1-2 cups cooked Quinoa
1 can of Green Chilies
½ cup Diced Tomatoes
3 tbsp Cilantro
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 teaspoon Garlic powder
½ teaspoon Onion powder or use 1-2 tbsp of fresh Red Onion
½ teaspoon Chili powder
Optional: black beans and/or feta cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa, green chilies, tomatoes, cilantro, cumin, garlic, onion, chili powder, salt, pepper, and phase appropriate amount of black beans/feta at the end after each portion is measured out if you’d like to add.
- Spoon the filling into the bell pepper. Place in oven safe dish, cavity side up and bake until the peppers are tender and the filling is heated through. About 20-30 minutes.