A thesaurus lists the following synonyms for change_

Alter, modify, vary, transform, revolutionize, adjust, and amend

It's an impressive list considering how loosely we throw around the word change. The word change has earned its reputation as a dirty word of sorts due to the hard work it typically involves. Since engaging in healthier habits requires us to undergo some behavior modification, I thought we'd spend a few minutes talking shop.

One of the most important things to know before making a change is your readinessto make the change. Sounds simple enough, but it is often overlooked by adults and kids alike when making diet or exercise modifications. It's important to do some self-discovery before you initiate the behavior change process. There are several behavior change theories (Health Belief Model, Transtheoretical Model, Social Cognitive Theory to name a few) that have been researched and published in a variety of books, blogs and journal articles. Here we'll take a look at a few key questions you should ask yourself before making a big change.

  • First, assess how important the change is to you. How big of an impact will it have in the short-term? And the long-term? Why do you want to make this change?
  • Next, assess your confidence in making the change. A scale works great here with 0 being not confident at all, and 10 being very confident. Explore where you are on the scale with further self-discovery.
  • What are the benefits of making this change? What good things can come from making this change?
  • What might stop me from making this change? What are my barriers? What are the consequences of making this change?
  • What steps have I already taken to make this change?

Here is where the difference between dieting and changing your diet come in to play:

You can have all the good intentions in the world of making a change, but if your previous failures have damaged your confidence in making another change, then rebuilding your confidence is priority number one. Don't be afraid to start small and build some momentum. If you plan to make the change because your doctor (or dietitian) told you to, then it won't stick. Change comes from within and true behavior change is lifelong.

Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD is a nutritionist and founder of www.Skinnyandthecity.com. She is also the creator of The F-Factor DietaC/, an innovative nutritional program she has used for more than ten years to provide hundreds of her clients with all the tools they need to achieve easy weight loss and maintenance, improved health and well-being. For more information log onto www.FFactorDiet.com.