With those first two steps out of the way, it’s time to set some goals. You know at a high level what you want to do (i.e. lose weight, eat better, etc.), and that is great for keeping the big picture in mind. But, to get there, you must take many small steps.
Since most people can only tolerate so much change at one time before their bodies begin to retaliate, my advice to my clients is to identify one small thing they are going to begin doing and demonstrate that they can nail that goal before they move on to tackling any further goals. For example, a person who currently does not work out and whose diet routinely consists of food from fast food restaurants, convenience stores and vending machines, coupled with three sodas per day might be tempted to say he’s going to start working out daily and also refrain from eating processed food going forward. And while those are noble things to strive for, he will likely struggle to meet his goals, be it due to a requirement to completely overhaul his daily routine, a simple lack of cooking skills, uncertainty as to how to start an exercise program, or just the feeling of overwhelm at all of the changes it will require at one time. Regardless, a better goal to shoot for might be to say he is going to reduce his soda consumption to two sodas per day for one week. Then, once he's proven to himself he can do that, he can move on to one soda per day, one soda every other day, and so on.
While some may argue a cold turkey approach is superior to the gradual one I’m proposing, based on what I’ve seen in my practice, most people generally do better when making small, subtle changes over time rather one massive overhaul at the new year. But everyone is different, so if the latter works for you, by all means, do it. But, if you do opt for the small change route, first prove to yourself that you can make and sustain that first change, and only then do you move on to tackling the next one.
4. Be patient with yourself and strive for better, not perfect.