When you are making a decision involving eating, fitness and exercise or even your daily life, think about addition before you think about subtraction. I recently heard Natalie Jill, another trainer, discuss this concept and I thought it was awesome.

As we make changes or try to develop new patterns in our life, we often focus on the negatives, or removing something. When you take something away, what generally happens? In my experience, I am left constantly thinking about the one thing I am trying to forget or remove. This is usually the case until I find a filler. That filler is the addition, or the positive, in your life that you need to offset the subtraction.

Let’s break this down a bit more so you can see what I’m saying…

1. If you are trying to change your eating patterns, think about what you can add in to be healthier. Instead of focusing on removing sugar or processed carbs, think about adding in more of what you need. For example, adding in more vegetables or a mixed variety of greens. Add in more water consumption throughout the day. Add in healthy fat (if needed, and in the right quantity). Add in more complete proteins. Add in more balanced meals throughout the day to prevent indulgence when you are hungry. If you add in more of what you need, then you will find that the “un-needed” or negative foods will slowly disappear from your thoughts or habits.

2. If you are trying to exercise more, think about adding in activities that you like. I spoke last week about the “drift” that can lead to some bad habits. If you try to add in a walk each day, add in push-ups, or sit ups, or yoga or going to the gym, then you will find that the time spent on the unhealthy habits will slowly go away.

3. If you need to spend less time on social media, then think about adding in conversations or activities instead of taking away all social media. There is a place and time for everything. If you are in that situation of spending too much time on social media and getting lost in that hole, don’t completely remove it because that will be all you think about. Instead, use something productive to fill that time. Call a dear friend that you like to talk to and brings good energy, listen to a podcast and get some brain food or read a book.

With any of the above, there are a thousand things that can be added in. The key takeaway is adding more good to your life and not being focused on taking everything away. If you only think about taking things away, then you might yo-yo due to the negative connection you placed on a certain aspect of your life. Focus on the additions— the positives to your life— not just the subtractions.