3 Keys To Making Healthy Lifestyle Changes
I believe that there are three pillars to succeed in making sustainable lifestyle changes:
a positive mindset
If you struggle with any of those three elements, it may be impacting your ability to make the changes that you’d like to make, and ultimately have a negative impact on your health.
I'm not talking about fake positivity, but seeing the opportunity in challenges - the opportunity to learn, improve, and grow.
Do you ever make a decision to start eating healthy, and then immediately start to list out all of the hints you can’t have? No more donuts at the office, can’t grab that bagel with my coffee, and no more cheesecake... what? Ok maybe that’s just me lol! No but really, you start to think about cutting carbs, sugar, and basically anything that you enjoy.
This type of thinking is more of a negative mindset because you’re thinking of all the things you can no longer have. What about all the delicious food you CAN have? What about the new things you can try?
Thinking in these terms keeps things more positive. Think about adding and not subtracting. I need to add more fruits and veggies, add more lean protein, and add healthy carbs and fats to my diet.
A positive mindset also means thinking of your challenges in terms of growth opportunities. So you don’t really like many veggies. Neither did I when I decided to start eating healthier. Green beans were seriously the only green veggie I ate! I still do t eat as many as I’d like but it’s vastly improved over the years.
Accountability is taking responsibility for your actions, which ultimately gives you control over your own health and success.
This can be a tough one, especially if you feel like you’re in this alone. Maybe your friends or family aren’t super supportive, or maybe they just don’t have to be as diligent with their nutrition, or just don’t care to try.
There are a lot of great networks online. Join a supportive Facebook group. These types of support groups can be hugely beneficial when you feel completely alone in your journey. You can share successes and failures, and help hold each other accountable.
You also have to dig down deep and hold yourself personally accountable. The promises we make to ourselves are the most important ones. They are the ones that pave a path to our hopes, dreams, and goals.
Consistency is really the most important component to reaching your health goals. The difference between success and failure is consistency. If you can learn to do something consistently, you’ll tap into a much greater superpower than the habit itself: the belief that you’re completely capable of changing your behavior.
You’re not always going to want to exercise or eat healthy, but you can build momentum by taking one step at a time. Make small changes at a time, small enough that there’s no way you can fail. Drink a glass of water each morning, or eat a piece of fruit with your lunch. Then once you can do that consistently, take the next step.
Also you should always have a backup plan. Being consistent is great but things don’t always go according to plan. You can’t plan for everything that may come up, but most of the time the things that get in your way happen fairly often, like kids getting sick, extra hours at work, or days when you just don’t feel very energetic. Those surprises won't throw you off track if you plan ahead. For example, have a friend or family member lined up to stay with your kids so you can make it to the gym; stock your freezer with some healthy meals when you're short on time; stash your exercise clothes at the office for a quick workout when you can't get away.
Put a little time into identifying the most common problems that disrupt your healthy routine, and plan (in advance) what you can do to handle these problems without sacrificing your diet and exercise routine. Then all you’ll have to do is put your plan B into action.
These three key components, a positive mindset, accountability, and consistency, can help to ensure your success in making healthy changes that become habits for life.