Although most of us don’t have control over our health, we have control over our lifestyle. I put a large emphasis on the choices I make. This is due to my inability to control other aspects of life. This is a coping strategy but also very helpful. I don’t have frustrating conversations about diet and exercise. I surpass difficult lectures on lifestyle choices altogether. For me, these decisions came quite easily, when considering the alternative. I understand that they’re challenging for most people. I’ve created a short guide on how to create a healthy lifestyle. I hope you enjoy it!
- Focus on Key Areas
When first starting off, I’d analyze key areas of your life. I tend to focus on physical health, mental health, diet, and exercise. Now I’m sure you could break this down a lot further but I’ve found this is a nice balance. If this seems like too much, you might benefit from looking at mental and physical health first. This takes a bit of pressure away. You want to make sustainable changes and prepare for it to be a process. If you go in with unrealistic expectations, it likely won’t last very long.
- Start With Goals
It’s easiest to start with the ideal. I sat down and wrote out what my perfect world looked like and worked backwards. For example, if you want to eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables, start with adding them into one meal. Small decisions will produce pattern and habit changes. All you need to do is one thing at a time. Don’t get caught up in all the changes you have to make, that’s overwhelming. Tackle one thing from each category a day. Add vegetables to one meal or do 20-30 squats to start off your day. Maybe you want to meditate for five minutes and track your chronic pain. Again, if all of that is too much right now pick the category that is most important to you.
- Set Gentle but Firm Reminders
It’s important to remind yourself of the changes you want to make. When you’re grabbing for chips over an apple it’s easy to beat yourself up later. If you have reminders set on your phone for your usual snack time, you won’t have to feel regret. It also adds an element of accountability. There’s no blame shifting. Changing your lifestyle is a big step but it can be torturous if you’re playing ping pong with bad habits.
- You Will Make Mistakes! Learn From Them
There will be mistakes throughout your journey. The most important thing you can do in these moments is learn from them. It’s not about beating yourself up with what you should’ve or could’ve done. Those choices have already been made. It’s about looking to the future and acknowledging what you could do better. Please don’t get angry with yourself, hold yourself accountable but don’t put yourself down. You can do better in the future. One mistake won’t make the world fall apart.
Restructuring how you function is by definition overwhelming. It’s filled with temptation and challenge but the results are fruitful. I’d encourage you to ask yourself what you could be doing better. Even if you sit down at the end of the day and make notes, planting that seed is important. It sets up the expectation for the next day. Continuously making poor decisions only serves to hurt you and others around you. You can do this! Take a step back and consider the options in front of you. Evaluate what fits into your end goal and what doesn’t. When it comes down to it, it’s the little choices that make your overall lifestyle habits.