If you don’t like how things are, change it! You’re not a tree. You have the ability to totally transform every area in your life. - Jim Rohn
1) Make small changes, rather than sweeping big ones. If you are looking to make a change in your life, your chance of success can be enhanced by choosing one important change at a time. Pick one thing on which to direct your focus and put together a reasonable plan.
2) Replace it, rather than just Erase it. Adding something positive to your life when you are working to remove something negative can reinforce your mission. I gave up soft drinks about 20 years ago and replaced it with sparkling mineral water and haven't looked back. I started eating a piece of fruit at 9am each day and removed my unhealthy habit of eating a doughnut or breakfast sandwich from the canteen at work.
3) Approach every opportunity to "cheat" as a choice, not a rule. Studies show that we humans have a low threshold for deprivation. Telling yourself you "can't" have something or "must" do something is the quickest way to cause you to rebel. Telling yourself that you can have something if you really want it, or that you don't have to do something can take the pressure off and help you make better choices. Try it- I often tell myself "you can have one if you want...but you might not be happy about it later today"
4) Be aware of how you talk to yourself. Remember that the reason you are making any change is to support your well-being. Be gentle with yourself.. If you have a set back, be sure to tell yourself its okay, you can always begin again. Give yourself credit for what you do. Sometimes we get so focused on where we want to be that we forget where we have been.
5) Identify a compelling reason for your change. Making a decision to cut out sugar "to strengthen your immune system"...or to practice a yoga pose each morning "to improve back pain" can be more effective than just deciding the change alone. Choosing more than one compelling reason is also encouraged, and choosing something that can be quickly realized will also increase your chances of success. For something like weight loss, or physical fitness, that may take some time to realize, a daily journal citing what you did and how you feel may prove motivating. It is also inspiring to look back over the months, or weeks and realize how far you have come!