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 5: Lock in a Date
Now you’re ready to reform your stagnant ways, so pick a start date within the week. (Any later and your fire will fizzle.) If today is the big one, all the better, but still mark it on your calendar (in pen!)—it will serve as a reminder of your commitment. “If you don’t set a date, you’ll say, ‘Oh, not today, I had a hard day at work,’” DiClemente says. If you need to make preparations before diving in (say, buying a sports bra or nicotine patches), schedule those tasks on your calendar, too; it’s easy to put them of if you simply add them to your to-do list. When Macey Snelson, 31, decided to run a marathon after eight years of scant physical activity, she posted plans for her first jog on Facebook. “There was no way I’d go home and share that I hadn’t done it,” the Portland, Ore.-based designer says. Making yourself accountable ahead of time will solidify your resolve, too. The last step is also the most fun: Get ready to celebrate your success! Mark your weekly and monthly “rebirthdays” on your calendar even before you start. Set alerts to pop up on your phone (“72 hours since you gave up gluten!”) and pencil in an event or treat to celebrate. Planning on making it that far will remove any doubts about your perseverance. “I reward my successes by buying new clothes,” says Iris*, who’s lost more than 60 pounds after swearing of processed sugar on Aug. 16 of last year. “But the real reward is how great I feel.” You will too. Happy thriving!