It can become difficult for us to make lasting changes in our lives that can benefit us for a lifetime. Why is this so difficult to do? What can we do to ensure that positive changes remain a permanent part of our lives? Whether we desire to begin exercising, to eat healthier, to stress less, or even to drink more water, our journey begins first with the acknowledgment of what we want; this is important to face and realize within ourselves. Next, we should think about why we want this new, healthier innovation and the benefits that it will provide for us. For example, if we are overweight and desire to lose weight, what is our motivation?
Finding Your Motivation
Perhaps we have a three-year-old daughter we are raising, or illnesses such as diabetes or high blood pressure are within the family. Or perhaps our body is in so much pain that losing even ten pounds would significantly increase our movement and energy. It is best to focus on what we want most even if that means we will be uncomfortable for a short period. Yes, to lose weight, it means giving up some unhealthy yet delicious tasting foods. We cannot eat that second bowl of ice cream or that second helping of potato chips. However, we can learn healthier habits that can significantly change our lives by enabling us to be healthier and in less pain.
If you crave salty foods, try to find healthier alternatives to potato chips such as edamame. If you love sweets, eat more fruits and try new foods such as sweet potatoes. Begin to immerse yourself within the kitchen instead of driving through the drive-thru every day. If this is too overwhelming, start by purchasing healthy frozen meals and rotisserie chicken while cooking in your kitchen once or twice per week.
When we realize the reason for what we are doing, it helps to give it more meaning within our lives. We begin to understand that it affects more people than just ourselves. However, when starting a new goal, it is best to start small. If we desire to drink more water, it would be unrealistic to stop drinking soda pop completely; it is best to begin by replacing every other drink with water if we continuously drink soda pop throughout the day. If you only drink one soda pop daily, try to reduce it to every other day or every three days.
Accountability & Rewards
Ask someone close to you to hold you accountable. Tell them of your goal and then have them continuously check in with you and monitor you weekly. Be sure to set small goals. For example, if you want to lose 40 pounds, begin with first trying to lose 5 to 10 pounds. Once you have reached this goal, reward yourself with something that you enjoy to keep yourself motivated (if you are losing weight, it would be best to avoid delicious treats). By gradually eliminating unhealthy habits such as drinking soda pop or beginning healthier habits such as exercising, this can increase the chances of this become a lasting lifelong change.