Mind & Body

Have a Health Epiphany

Whether you want to swear off sugar or shake up your social life, here’s your guide to making positive changes stick.
Have a Health Epiphany
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Step 4: Congratulate your soon-to-be healthy self
To solidify that new identity, write a letter to your six-months-from-now self, describing your successes and what you did to get there. “Great job—you completely cut out gluten and feel amazing! Planning the week’s meals and keeping healthy g-free snacks at your desk really helped, didn’t it?” Even if it feels cheesy (and, um, it will), the exercise brings to life a specific goal you can call to mind when the going gets tough. What’s more, imagining yourself in the future helps you delay gratification, so you’ll be more likely to head to a vinyasa class when you’d rather stay at home like usual, reveals a study in the journal Psychological Science. Thinking of the new and improved 2015 you crystallizes the eventual benefits of your health kick—so the short-term rewards of temptation (say, a temporary sugar buzz) seem piddling in contrast. Seal your letter in an envelope and schedule a reminder to open it in six months, so you don’t forget (you’ll be caught up in your newly revitalized life, after all). When you reread it over the winter and realize you’ve made your dream come true, you’ll gain even more confidence and redouble your commitment to your healthy lifestyle.

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