Congratulations, you have made some healthy choices. You have put away the old and embraced the new for the better. Perhaps you have noticed a marked increase in energy, a decrease in physical ailments, a better outlook on life and an overall sense of empowerment. It all started with a decision that you made to be the best you can be, to strive for health and to be well.
Now the big question is, how do you make this change last? How do you stay healthy and continue to move forward? After all, you have put so much effort into embracing a healthy life that it would be sorrowful to slip back into your old ways.
Believe it or not, the tricky part is not adapting new behaviors and attitudes; it is making them stick. So many times people reach a level of health that they have never known only to fall back into their old ways and lose all that they have gained. To keep yourself moving forward consider these tips:
It is next to impossible to make the right choice 100% of the time. You will have days when it is harder to exercise, harder to make great food choices and just more difficult to stay motivated. Being realistic about the curve balls that life will pitch you will help to keep you balanced. Balance means staying in touch with what is important always, striving to do your best and picking yourself up and moving forward when you have a bad moment or even a bad day. Balance is about being real and understanding that it is ok to slip as long as you get up and continue forward progression.
Do what you love
When it comes to exercise, there is no way that you are going to stick to your routine if you are doing something that you don’t love. The key to adopting healthy regime is to find a few things that bring you joy and do them as often as you can. Keep in mind that the key to an active lifestyle is not to feel like exercise is your enemy. Embrace activities that you love like walking, biking, swimming, dancing or even playing with your kids as often as you can. You will soon become unaware that you are even exercising because you are enjoying yourself so much.
As Leonardo da Vinci said, ” Learning never exhausts the mind.” A hunger for new information will keep you on top of a healthy life. Find good sources and plug in often. The more you learn about food, nutrition, and exercise, the better choices you will make. Don’t ever let a lack of knowledge propel you towards inaction or inadequate action. There is so much good, solid information available that learning is easy.. Keep a record of all of the things you learn and make it a habit to try new things weekly.
Take it one step at a time
When making changes in your life, always remember that you can never get where you are going without taking the first step. Sometimes the first move is the hardest, but it is also the most important. Furthermore, you always have to walk before you can walk faster… if you put one foot in front of the other and continue moving, you will always be gaining and improving your health. Discouragement often comes when we try to do too much too quickly.
Be ok with where you are
Know that where you are is where you should be. This will help you keep perspective on your health journey. Be kind to yourself and don’t forget to forgive yourself if you slip up a bit. Worrying constantly about where you are going will take away from enjoying where you are at the moment. Look back down your path and see how far you have come rather than be concerned with how far you have to go. You will be amazed at how much influence you can have on yourself – you can be your best cheerleader or your worst critic. It is always best to be the cheerleader.
Surround yourself with like-minded family and friends
Social pressure can be both beneficial and also devastating. Your long term success with your healthy life will be challenged by social pressure along the way. To make it easier, surround yourself with family and friends who love and support you. People who feel the same way about health as you do will make your journey much easier. Even if they don’t agree 100% with all that you are doing, if they are respectful and supportive it will be much easier for you to remain focused. Some people even find it easier to join a support group with people who are on the same track. This gives you a safe place to talk about your concerns, share ideas and motivate each other.
Have a plan for traveling
Of course adopting a healthy lifestyle does not mean that you put all areas of your life on hold, including travel. With the general population becoming more and more aware of the necessity of healthy choices, there are more options to stay healthy while you travel. However, don’t ignore the benefit that a little planning along the way can have. While you are still in the planning stages, be sure that you will have access to healthy food and places to exercise while you travel.
This may even mean bringing along a workout tape or arranging a vacation where you can be active. If you plan on eating out a lot, know the in’s and out’s of dining out and what is acceptable for your meal plan. Some people find it easier to rent a place where they can do their shopping and cooking most of the time. This way you can be in control of what you are eating. If you are planning a road trip – pack your food and make ample time to stop, get out and walk around.
No matter what, always be mindful. Be aware of what you are eating, what you are doing and even what you are speaking and thinking. Take time to enjoy life, enjoy food, enjoy an active lifestyle and you will find that health is no longer a pursuit as much as it is a way of life that you embrace.