We provide lots of tips, tricks, and information on this website about how to improve your health and quality of life. But we understand just how difficult it can be to make lifestyle changes. Building new habits is hard. It takes time, trial-and-error, and discipline to break old habits and develop new ones. We are all about balance, taking things slow and being realistic, so we have compiled a list of tips to help you make sustainable and enjoyable lifestyle changes to improve your health.
Discipline over motivation: you will not feel motivated every single day, no one does. Motivation fades over time, it ebbs-and-flows, and is easily influenced. It cannot be relied on and is one of the biggest pitfalls people experience when trying to improve their health. They start out all motivated and then when the novelty wears off and the motivation fades, they quit. Instead, you need to focus on discipline. It isn’t about getting up and doing the habit because you feel like it, it is about doing it because you said you would. Discipline is what will sustain habits, not motivation.
Go slow: don’t try to go from 0 to 10, overhauling your entire day with all new habits and routines. It isn’t sustainable or realistic. Aim to go from 0 to 1 and that’s it. Pick one new habit at a time to implement, do that for a period until it becomes natural, then add on another. Slow and steady wins the race with habit building.
Scale your goals: break your goals down in to attainable sub-goals. If your goal is to run a half marathon, set the goal of running a 5k race, then a 10k race, etc. Scaling your goal down into sub-goals makes you feel you are achieving things along the way and makes it fun.
Plan: without a plan, a goal is just a wish. What makes it a goal that you are working towards is having a plan on how you will achieve it. Break your overall goal down in to chunks (sub-goals, as mentioned above), then break those sub-goals down in to weekly goals (what do you need to do each week to move towards the sub-goal), and then break the weekly goal down in to daily tasks (what do you need to do each day to accomplish the weekly goal). Finally, schedule your daily tasks into your calendar to ensure they will get done.
Be realistic – if you hate running, don’t choose running as the activity you want to commit to. You won’t do it because you don’t like it! Choose something you enjoy and will be interested in sticking to. Or, if you must drop your kids off at school in the morning, don’t agree to going to a workout class at that time since you know you won’t be able to commit to it. Set realistic goals that fit in with your life, schedule, interests, and other commitments.
Accountability – tell people your goals. The more open you are about what you are working on the more likely you are to stick to it. Ask a friend to check in, keep a checklist on your fridge that your family can see, or post it on social media. Or, better yet, get others to join you! You are far less likely to miss your morning walk if you know someone is waiting for you to show up.
Assess your progress: check in and see how you are progressing towards your goals. If you are struggling, that’s okay, it just means you need to figure out what your barriers are and come up with solutions of how to get around them.
We hope you enjoyed our latest Health Hint!