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By Jill Johnson Henscheid, CD, RD, Gundersen Nutrition Therapy

Deciding to improve body weight and eat healthy can take a lot of hard work and diligence but, most importantly, requires true lifestyle change. Frequently we hear about a diet that melts the weight off fast but neglects to mention or emphasize maintaining that weight loss. Or we hear others lament they can only "get to a certain weight" and can't lose more. Change is hard—we all understand that, right? But how do you make changes that last?

Mapping a vision or using a vision circle can help you clarify your values, goals and hopes for the lifestyle or "style of life" you have in your head or heart. A vision map is literally the practice of drawing and writing what you see in your mind or feel in your heart on paper. It is similar to brainstorming but in art form. There is no right or wrong map because your map will be unique to you.

To draw your vision circle, take a sheet of paper and draw a center circle which identifies yourself. Next, list all the important relationships, activities, places and choices around your circle and draw an arrow between your circle and these items. The map can then be used to help you clarify "steps to change" and objectives or goals that can help you achieve your vision. Finally, track the process and document progress, challenges or barriers. Continually evaluate your vision and what is important to your health.

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