I have a very simple motto when it comes to becoming healthier. Simple changes go a long way! Yes, let me repeat that again, Simple changes go a long way! You do not need expensive gym memberships, protein drinks or powders, or even a kale salad to make healthy changes in your lifestyle.
A healthy lifestyle change has to fit into your life. If you hate kale, you aren’t going to fall in love with it tomorrow. I can promise you this. You will end up feeling like a failure and letting that expensive kale rot in the fridge. Let me help you set realistic goals and a path for you to become successful.
- FIND OUT WHAT MOTIVATES YOU
I was talking with my friend the other day about starting an exercise plan. I asked her what motivates you to want to workout. She said “I want to lose weight.” I responded with “that’s great, but what really motivates you?”. Why did I repeat my question to her? Yes, she wanted to lose weight but she had no idea what actually was motivating her to want to lose weight. When we think about the result we desire and find a personal connection to our goals we are more likely to be successful. For example, my exercise goal in the last 10 years has never been about weight loss, I am active daily to help strength my back to prevent pain and further back surgeries. I do this by exercising 5-6 days a week with exercise specific to my goals. (If you want to learn more about my journey with scoliosis visit Fit52)
2. SET REALISTIC GOALS
All goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. You probably heard that before but I like to focus on making your goals realistic to your lifestyle. We are all busy. How do we make a change happen when you feel like you have no time for change? You only make a simple change that works for you. If your goal is to reduce your daily added sugar intake, maybe first focus on just reducing your soda intake. If you drink 3 sodas a day, then possibly your short term goal should be to reduce your daily soda intake by 1 soda a day. Try that for a couple of weeks, then reduce down to 1 soda drink per day, before you know it your body will adjust and the sugar-filled sodas will no longer be as desirable to you. Once this short term goal is achieved then you might focus on another item with high amounts of added sugar. With this method you are more likely to stick with your goals because you feel accomplished and it’s truly realistic. You will have bad days where you slip up on your goals, it’s ok we all have those days. Just make a plan to help yourself get back on track.
3. MAKE A PLAN
This phase might be one of the most important aspects of your journey. Your plan will determine how successful you are in reaching your goals. I suggest writing your plan down somewhere that you can refer back to it easily. I love my notes app on my phone. I utilize the notes section to map out my goals and plan to keep myself focused throughout the week. Currently my plan is to start running again at least twice a week, work on yoga to improve my flexibility in my lower back with daily yoga after my workouts, and read an average of two books a week until the end of the year. I have this all mapped out so that I can be successful. This phase also needs to include a plan for when you have a bad day. Map out how you will get back focused on your goals. This should include some positive phrases to make sure you do not tear yourself down for slipping up.
4. SCHEDULE SCHEDULE SCHEDULE
Get yourself a calendar and use it often! Maybe you use your phone’s calendar, but make a new color for your healthy lifestyle goal in it. At the start of every week schedule your goals into your calendar. Essentially you are making yourself an appointment for your goals! This appointment might be a 15 minute walk at 7am before work. Another idea might be to schedule your meals for the whole week with recipes below each meal or a link to a recipe. No matter what your goal is make sure to take time and schedule your goal into your day.
5. CHECK IN ON YOURSELF
Weekly check ups to see how your goals are progressing are important. You might find that you need to revise your goal after week one. Maybe you realized that there is no way you will accomplish your established goal. Let’s be honest if your goal was to eat a salad once a day, but you realized you just do not like salad then you need to revise your goal. Achieving your goals will be a lifetime journey so checking in on your goals should be done frequently.