Making a lifestyle change is hard. It can be difficult to find the motivation to do something new and different every day, especially if you are not getting the results you want. It can take months, even years, to alter your habits. The reason it is so difficult is that those changes need to be permanent and consistent. Your busy work schedule and family requirements can make it hard for you to continue making positive changes. Rest assured that there are ways for you to sustain these lifestyle changes. Here are some tips on how to make healthy lifestyle changes in your life that sticks.
Trying to make a 180-degree change in your life all at once will likely set you up for failure. Instead, try picking one small thing that interests you and start there. Do not overwhelm yourself by trying to do too much at once. Small goals are easier to maintain and keep you from feeling overwhelmed from the start. This is one of the best ways to make a healthy lifestyle change that sticks.
It is important to have a good idea of what you want to accomplish and why it is important to you, but your overarching goal may be too big a leap. You might not be able to go from a sedentary life to training for a marathon in months. However, you could increase the amount of water you drink each day and find an exercise routine that works for your body, and this could be made possible by using Big Berkey Water Filters.
Identify a Realistic Goal
Setting goals is an important part of the process, but setting unrealistic goals can be dangerous. If you’re unsure how big or small your goal should be, try starting with the SMART system: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Make sure you can achieve your goal in a specific amount of time. If your first goal is too ambitious, do not be afraid to adjust it until it’s manageable for you.
As you begin to make changes toward a healthier lifestyle, it is important to identify and set realistic goals. Do not take on too much at once. Instead, find a goal that is challenging but achievable. You’ll be more likely to achieve it and not get discouraged. For example, if your goal is to start running three times a week, you might start by setting aside time to walk three times a week instead. Or you can do a hike, just always come prepared for emergencies. This allows you to build up your endurance while still making progress towards your ultimate goal of running. You can also use this same strategy for any other goal you’re trying to achieve, such as eating out less often or cooking at home more often.
Track Your Progress
Knowing how far you have come can be a great motivator when times get tough, and they will. When you are making changes to your habits and setting goals, you should be monitoring your behavior to see how well you’re doing. Tracking your progress will give you an accurate idea of what’s working and what is not, and it will help you maintain consistency in the long run. You can keep track of your progress in a number of ways. You might write down or keep a journal of everything you eat or take pictures of yourself as a means to monitor your weight loss regularly. At the end of each day, week, or month, look at what you recorded or tracked, analyze it for patterns, and make adjustments accordingly. Using an app on your phone is a good way to keep track of what is working for you and what is not.
Reward Yourself When You Reach a Milestone
Give yourself something special when you meet a goal. You will be more motivated to keep going if you feel like you are getting something in return for all your hard work. If you have committed to making a lifestyle change, it is important to celebrate your progress and milestones. When you reach a big goal, like exercising consistently for several weeks or eating more vegetables every day, reward yourself with something that will help keep you motivated. It could be a new workout outfit or some healthy snacks, but something as simple as a relaxing massage can do the trick. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something you will enjoy but can’t necessarily have all the time.
Rewards do not have to be extravagant or expensive. The most important thing is that they give you something positive to look forward to meeting your goal. Not only do rewards help to motivate you, but they provide a much-needed boost in morale when you reach a goal. You want to avoid the temptation of going back to your old ways after the hard work you put into your new healthy living change.
Include a Friend in Your Plans
While it is ultimately up to you to make your goals happen, having a friend working on similar goals will make it easier to stay on track. You can encourage each other, celebrate victories together, and check-in when the going gets tough. Regardless of your goal, enlisting the help of a friend can be one of the easiest ways to stay motivated. A friend who is going on the same journey can be an excellent source of support and encouragement.
When you are trying to make a healthy lifestyle change, it is important to have an accountability buddy. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you have let yourself down and having a friend to confide in can help you get out of that cycle. You’re more likely to show up for your runs if you’ve agreed to do them with someone else or order the salad off the menu instead of the burger if you know your friend will be disappointed if you go for the calorie-laden option. Ensure you have safe drinking water during the runs. Likewise, it’s great for those around you to cheer on your new healthy habits. Knowing that someone is rooting for you can motivate you to keep pushing forward when things seem tough.
Make it Fun
When you exercise more often or eat more vegetables and fruits, you may experience positive benefits such as increased energy or weight loss. The more you can make changing your habits fun and enjoyable, the more likely you are to stick with it. Instead of forcing yourself to work out every day after work, find a way to incorporate movement into your routine in a way that does not feel like a chore. Take a yoga class, go for walks with friends, and join an intramural sports team. Take note of these benefits to keep yourself motivated and on track for long-term success.
Set yourself up for success by making sure the new habit is something you actually look forward to doing. If you dread it, you’ll be more likely to quit. If it becomes part of your daily routine in a way that feels like a treat or an escape, chances are better that you will stick with it. For example, if exercising makes you feel energized and capable of conquering the world afterward, chances are you’ll do it more often than if the feeling was one of dread or exhaustion at the end.
Don’t Expect Perfection
If you set the bar too high and expect perfection, you will likely feel discouraged and give up altogether. Have an honest conversation with yourself about what you can realistically accomplish in a particular span of time. It’s better to start out slow, even if it means only putting one small thing on your list to change. It will still have a positive impact. When you begin to establish that habit, you can start adding other areas of your life that you’d like to improve.
It is important to remember that life happens. There may be days when your best intentions aren’t enough. Maybe you have a doctor’s appointment or need to take the kids somewhere and don’t have the time for your daily workout routine. Or maybe you’re traveling for work and don’t have access to the same food options as you do at home. Rather than beating yourself up about it, just keep moving forward with whatever healthy choices are available to you at that moment, and then get back on track with your regular routine as soon as possible.
Making a sustainable, healthy change in your lifestyle can seem daunting. If you make it too complicated, you are less likely to be able to do it for the long haul. So when you are getting started, keep things simple. You do not have to overhaul your life all at once. Pick one thing and start there. Then once you’ve made that one change a regular part of your life, move on to the next. By keeping things manageable at first, you’ll have an easier time making the changes stick over time.