Clean Living with Coach Jane: Go Small for Lasting Change


A little about me:

Who am I?

Hi! My name is Jane Daniel. I am a proud mom to three healthy boys, a lover of the great outdoors, a forever student, health nut, exercise enthusiast and native of the Triad. I am also a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

What do I do?

I am a holistic health coach with multiple certifications in all things related to health, nutrition and exercise. In 2015, I received my first certification as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. I haven’t stopped taking classes since then and hope I never will! The areas I’m most passionate about are my training programs in Ayurveda, Polyvagal Theory, Female Hormone Optimization and Weight Loss, and most recently the Journey of Intrinsic Health. All of these have one thing in common: the body has the ability to heal itself if we allow it to do so.

I’m super excited to have the opportunity to share all things health for the lovers of Forsyth Woman magazine!

You have the brand new workout gear, gym membership, or new diet program. Motivation is high and 2023 is YOUR year to get healthy. How can you make that resolution stick after motivation is gone? It is all about creating habits around those resolutions. And it doesn’t take 21 days  to “wire in a habit” as long as the ability and prompts are present. This information is based on the work of BJ Fogg and James Clear.

First, lower the bar. It can be overwhelming when we set our sights on losing 20 pounds. Celebrate the small wins daily or weekly. “I lost a pound this week,” cue the fist pump. Dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter, keeps us motivated when we celebrate anything regardless of how large or small it is. Our brain wants to seek that behavior out again!

Change happens when we feel good.

Positive emotions wire in the habit.

So let’s discuss the A, B, Cs of creating a habit, shall we?

First and foremost, get clear on the goal you want to accomplish. There are two parts to this: the outcome and behavior. The outcome is what you want and the behavior goal is what will get you there. Going small and measurable is the best way to do this! For example, the outcome is I want to eat more vegetables to help me lose weight. The behavioral goal could be, I will have a big salad for lunch every day this week.

A is for Anchor

This is a reminder of the new behavior you want to install. We have anchors or prompts that we do every day without thinking twice. Our phone dings, we pick up and see who texts us. If it is raining, we grab an umbrella on our way out the door.

Some types of anchors are environmental (foods in the pantry), internal (stomach growling), and frequency (stopping at a red stop light).

List out your morning, afternoon and evening activities. You will find there are some common themes each day…making coffee, brushing teeth, taking a shower, going to the bathroom. “Habit stack” new behaviors on top of the current ones.

Some examples:

  • While the coffee is brewing, I will do 10 air squats.
  • When I’m at a red light, I will take 3 deep breaths in and out of my nose
  • When my phone pings, I will think of something I’m grateful for before checking.
  • While waiting in the carpool line, I will order my groceries online for pick-up.
  • I will sleep in my workout clothes so I am ready to go first thing in the morning.

You can also have negative “anchors.” In the kitchen, refrigerator and pantry, you may have “not so ideal” food choices in full view. Pull the vegetables out of the crisper and add them on the shelf at eye level. Take social media apps off your phone if they tend to be “time sucks.” Go a different route to work if you tend to stop at the local bakery for a sweet treat.

Make the habits you are trying to break harder to do!

B is for Behavior

Reduce to the ridiculous; make the behavior so small that it is winnable. You can use the two minute rule with this.

Some examples:

  • Instead of the overwhelming task of decluttering your house, set a timer for 2 minutes and clean out a junk drawer.
  • Get up in the morning, drive to the gym, walk through the doors of the gym and walk right back out!
  • Go for a 2 minute walk after dinner.
  • Pour a large glass of water and leave beside your computer.

You are setting up the behavior to snowball into something bigger. It makes us feel safe, is easy to do, and doesn’t rely on the fickleness of motivation and willpower.

C is for Celebration

As I mentioned above, celebrate the small wins in order to rewire your brain to cultivate the new habit. Dopamine gets mini hits throughout the day when you give yourself a high five one way or another to keep you going!

Cheers to new habits and your healthiest year yet!


IG @ncjane77 FB @janedanielinhc


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