Many people say when you have your health, you have everything. As someone who has suffered a few health scares in the past, I can attest to this. It is something we take for granted. It is something most of us do not work hard enough to maintain. Our bodies can put up with lots of abuse, and we may not fully realize the consequences of our poor choices until it is too late to really turn things around. As someone who found a way to make those permanent changes that put me among the ranks of the healthy, here are some tips to help you do just the same.
Identify Your Why
Why do you want to be healthy? What benefits are you hoping to reap? Get at the root of your desire and you will find it easier to achieve your goals; you will have strong motivators in place to get you through the hurdles.
Set Short-Term Goals
Set some short-term goals that are somewhat easy to achieve to help get you over the day-to-day slumps that will inevitably occur. It might be something like trying to lose just five pounds to fit into your favorite dress you can no longer wear.
Set Long-Term Goals
You also want to set some long-term goals to give you something to strive for over time, something that will help keep you on track for an extended period. Maybe it will be to run a half-marathon or bring a health problem under better control.
Make Stress Management a Priority
Stress in and of itself is very bad for our health because it produces all sorts of effects in the body that can make us sick, like constricting our blood vessels and promoting inflammation. But, there is another reason to keep stress in check—when we feel better overall, we are more compelled to make healthy choices regarding our diet and other aspects of our lifestyle. Stressed people don’t care about being healthy.
Make a Game Plan
Whatever health goals you want to achieve, whether it be eating better or exercising more, you need to plot out exactly how you are going to do that. What days will you exercise and at what times? What will you do specifically? If you want to eat better, how will you accomplish that? Will you start bring healthy snacks to work? Will you write out meals for the week and then take a weekly trip to the store to buy everything you need? Just saying something is not enough, trust me.
Make Small Changes to Jump Start Motivation
Staying motivated is key to making permanent changes over time; trying to become a different person overnight will likely backfire. Swap out your nightly ice cream for fruit just a few nights a week; vow to try one new vegetable each day; commit to a 20-minute walk after dinner and eventually work your way up to that daily jog.
Feed Your Mind
Start feeding your mind information that will motivate you to be healthier. Read books about becoming a better person, about breaking bad habits, about how to improve your health. You need to expose yourself to new ways of thinking.
Promote a Healthy Home
Keep healthy food in your house so there is always something nutritious to snack on. Get some exercise equipment in your home so you can still get a workout in if you are too busy to get to the gym or the weather is nasty.
Remember You are Playing the Long Game
One of the reasons we find it so hard to change is we rush to transform overnight. We set up unrealistic expectations and when we fall short, we get discouraged and give up altogether. It is important to challenge yourself, but don’t go so bold. You are looking to create permanent change. You may have slip-ups along the way, and it is okay. Get back on the horse and start fresh.
You Don’t Have to Be Perfect
You don’t have to be a perfect to be healthy. Don’t deprive yourself of all the joy in life; if you pushed yourself too hard at the gym, it is okay to take a day off. Sometimes you will want to eat something just because it tastes good…that is okay.