You have decided to eat better, exercise more and take more time for yourself, excellent! … But now what? Getting started is quite possibly the hardest hurdle. Once we make a positive lifestyle change and it has become part of our routine, it is comparatively easy to maintain and “stick with it.” Yet taking that first leap is truly the most challenging. Here are some helpful tips to consider when kick-starting your health and wellness which can be applied to all types of life goal setting.
Realistic and attainable – attempting to go from relatively unhealthy eating habits to sustaining yourself on smoothies and power bowls is not realistic, nor is it likely to be maintained, and that is the ultimate objective - MAITAINING the positive change that you worked so hard to attain. A realistic goal may be cutting out sugar, junk food, processed food (FAKE FOOD) limiting alcohol/caffeine consumption and eating more natural REAL FOOD - fresh fruit, vegetables, whole natural grains and legumes, lean proteins etc.
Definitive, clear & quantifiable – goals need to be easy to comprehend, recognizable and quantitative. Simply stating “I want get healthy” is far too vague. There are several ways to do so. A more definitive goal might be - in order to improve my health I will take group fitness classes and walk more.
Enjoyable, relatable and important for YOU – setting a goal for yourself involving something you have never liked, or something that has little personal and emotional impact on you is likely to fail. That is not to say “I don’t like exercise, ergo I don’t need set this as a goal”. Instead, think about positive attributes of actions that result in making you feel healthier, happier and calmer and fit this into your lifestyle. EG. I do not enjoy the gym, however I like dancing, being outdoors and socializing. Consider then a goal like trying a dance class with girlfriends and joining a local tennis club social group that heads to a local café afterward a round of matches.
Pick an end-point – having a deadline will prompt you to start, keep going and complete.
Most importantly, HAVE FUN! Making lifestyle changes are difficult, humans are not too dissimilar to our less evolved counterpart mammals. We are truly creatures of habit. Creating new, healthy habits is challenging and frustrating at times. Don’t get too hung-up on missing a day at the gym or having a slice of cake at somebody’s birthday party at work. Simply accept the decision you made (enjoy that cake!) and move forward with resolve to off-set those choices with something else, like an extra-long walk on your way home from work and salad for dinner.