Dalai Lama's 7 steps to positive and healthy lifestyle change

Use these 7 steps to make positive changes towards a healthy diet, exercise, and weight.

  1. Learning
  2. Conviction
  3. Determination
  4. Action
  5. Effort
  6. Create Habits
  7. Eliminate negativity


The Dalai Lama describes in the book: The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living how to bring about change and overcoming obstacles.

The first step involves learning.

Learning and education are important because they help one develop conviction of the need to change and help increase one’s commitment. This conviction to change then develops into determination. Next, one transforms determination into action — the strong determination to change enables one to make a sustained effort to implement the actual changes. This final factor of effort is critical.

…No matter what behavior you are seeking to change, no matter what particular goal or action you are directing your efforts towards, you need to start by developing a strong willingness or wish to do it. You need to generate great enthusiasm. And, here, a sense of urgency is a key factor.

…using habituation to our advantage. Through constant familiarity, we can definitely establish new behavior patterns.

…by making a steady effort, I think we can overcome any form of negative conditioning and make positive changes in our lives. But you still need to realize that genuine change doesn’t happen overnight.

Now let’s apply Dalai Lama’s process for change to our diet, fitness, and weight management.

Learning and Conviction

If I want to change my diet and lose or gain weight, I research why weight problems are detrimental to my health. The key here is to educate ourselves with intricate details. We have to convince ourselves that we NEED to change. We have to be absolutely convinced into order to create conviction. So, convince yourselves by reading:

Determination and Action

After you edcuate yourself enough to convince yourself, you must become determined to create action. The hardest step is the first step. Once you’ve got momentum, it gets easier and easier to keep going and more difficult to stop.

For example, I used to drink 2 liters of Pop per day (Coca Cola, Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew). It was really difficult for me to change that habit. Yet, I gave up Pop for Lent one year, and after 40 pop-free days, I decided to see how long I could go, and I kept going and going (like the energize bunny). I am now at the point where I am so proud that I have not had any coke or mountain dew in over two years, that I don’t want to break that momentum. Action begets Action. The more you do, the more it will be easier to continue.

Read John Wesley’s article on Growing the Action Habit to keep you motivated during the early days of temptation.

Effort

As Napoleon Hill wrote in the book Think and Grow Rich,

Determine what you intend to give in return for the money you desire. There is no such reality as “something for nothing”.

We can apply this to our weight management desires. We have to give up something. So, what do you plan on giving up? For weight loss, we’ll have to be prepared to give up two items: 1) We have to give up some daily calories of food. 2) We have to give up time in order to exercise. Effort is required! So, that effort is what we’re giving up.

Create Habits

“Change Does not happen overnight.” We have to create habits that we can sustain over a long period of time. Every person is different, and you’ll have to figure out how you can motivate yourselve in order to create a habit. Use sheer will power to eat less food each day for 30 days. If that does not work for you, try Steve Pavlina’s 30 day Challenge to create a habit. Regardless, by making small changes to your diet and exercise over a long period of time, you’ll see changes. It takes time, and others will notice the change before you do. Read the Zen Habits 42 Exercise Hacks to help you build the Exercise habit. Learn about the Slow Weigh to Weight Loss to build methodical habits. Use Pavlovian Theory to create the habit. By creating habits, you will not want to stop NOT drinking pop.

Eliminate Negativity

I used to say: “I’m fat.” “I can’t stop eating all the time.” or “I’m a fatty bobbolaty”. etc. That Negative self-talk reinforces the behaviors I am trying to change. By ridding this negative talk and creating positive visualizations, I make it eaiser to maintain my new habits. I visualize that my body will weigh 160 Lbs by Nov 28.

  • I imagine I have already attained the body and mentally think how it feels to have less body weight.
  • I create vivid mental images
  • how it feels to grab a pair of pants out of my closet only to realize they’re too big.
  • I add up the money I am saving by eating less

I do everything I can to eliminate that negative self-talk. If you need help, Scott Young wrote a great guest post at zenhabits.com describing 20 Tricks to Nuke a Bad Habit

With these 7 steps, You can live a healthy lifestyle.

Go forth, Learn to Convince yourself to become Determined to Act with great Effort in Creating positive Habits while ridding yourself of Negative Self talk!

If you do so, soon you’ll not want to stop NOT drinking pop!