The way I started my 12-week life transformation program is by visualizing my goals and coming up with a list of habits that will help me achieve them. I would continue to add to that list from the thoughts I would have, habits I would remember, suggestions, books I read, etc.
There are several foundational areas I wanted to improve, such as reducing my level of stress, eating healthy food, moving more, and optimizing my sleep.
One way for me not to stress out is by not attempting to do things perfectly.
Sometimes I feel like having something outside my diet. What should I do?
This is where thresholds can be really useful.
A threshold is a minimum that you don't want to go below. It doesn't represent your perfect commitment. It represents the most you're willing to compromise.
A threshold is there for damage control. You don't want to simply go off your program just because you want to succumb to a temptation.
My main threshold works like this: I want to eat something that's not on my diet, so I'll go off my diet, but I won't go off intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting is my threshold. It acts as a buffer to prevent me from falling off the bandwagon completely.
The idea of a threshold can be applied to any aspect of life we're trying to change.
Say, for example, you want to have coffee at night, even though it will mess up your sleep. You will say to yourself: OK, I'll have the coffee, but I'll take my magnesium supplement, not use screens close to bedtime, and wear my sleep mask to shut out all lights.
Without a threshold you might think to yourself: "Oh, what's the point!? If I'm having coffee I might as well do X, Y, and Z!"
This is the attitude that a threshold protects against.
You want to cut yourself some slack, not cut the rope entirely.