I think it’s pretty safe to say that we all want to be healthier. We know that eating a cheeseburger at McDonald’s is bad for us, that we should exercise more, drink less alcohol, & get more sleep at night. However, this is no easy task when burgers taste delicious, sitting on the couch is relaxing, getting drunk is fun, & our busy schedules keep getting in the way of better night time habits.
What can be done? Below are steps that I try to implement in my every day life. I have to keep reminding myself that optimal health is a process and that it takes time, which can be frustrating for those of us that prefer instant results (myself included). Hopefully the steps below empower you and motivate you in your journey.
1. Start caring.
Your health is important and your lifelong happiness hinges on it. Think about the quality of life you’d like to have now, 10 years from now, and 20+ years from now. Do you want to be active and able to do most, if not all, of the things that you enjoy currently? Would you like spend your days taking medications and waiting in doctors’ offices or would you like to be out enjoying the great things that life has to offer? Do you want to be wheelchair-bound, fully dependent on others, and restricted to your house or would you like to have control and independence in your own life? A lot of those options depend on the decisions you make now.
2. Start small.
Break it down. What would you like to change first? Maybe you’d like to eat healthier. Try cutting out fast food, then after that eat more vegetables, then cut out sugar, etc. Take it one step at a time. Would you like to exercise more? Start by going for a walk three times a week, then every day, then go for hikes, and then start lifting weights. Don’t try to implement it all at once. If you go too hard too fast, you are more likely to get discouraged.
3. Write out your goals.
Do you want to lose weight? Write down the amount of pounds you’d like to lose and then research ways to make that possible. Give yourself a reasonable timeline (maybe 1 pound a week) & then go at it. Make a chart and put it on your wall. Visual aids and encouragements are very motivating.
4. Be patient.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is optimum health. Unfortunately, we will live in a toxic world and most of us have grown up being ignorant of truly helpful health practices. Don’t expect to transform your health in a day, week, or even a year. You can make great strides in that amount of time, but it takes awhile to right our wrongs. Good habits need time to become concrete, our bodies need time to rewire, and it takes time and energy to research and implement practices that work best for you.
5. Love yourself.
Love yourself every day. Don’t beat yourself up because you cheated on your diet. Don’t get discouraged because the number on the scale isn’t changing. Don’t let yourself get down because you didn’t work out today. This is all a process. You’re only human and all you can do is your best. Being hard on yourself will not motivate you to get off the couch. More than likely, it will motivate you to return to your bad habits as a source of comfort. Be proud of yourself for trying, kick yourself in the butt when you need to, and love yourself when you’re not where you’d like to be.
YOU CAN DO IT!