For much of my life, I was like many people. I did not have absolutely terrible habits; I was not grossly overweight or have any specific health problems. But, I definitely could not consider myself a ‘healthy’ person. And, that would always bother me, yet, I realized I was not doing enough to actually make changes. I hid behind a lot of lame excuses. But, eventually, I got real with my efforts, and I created a lifestyle that could truly be called ‘healthy.’
And I was proud of myself. I look back on some of the things I used to do, like smoke, or have regular breakfasts of bagels and 20 oz sodas, and can’t believe that was me. While certainly not perfect, I have turned into a non-drinking vegetarian who meditates and exercises on a regular basis. One of my favorite foods is tempeh, and I look forward to a cold, refreshing piece of fruit after dinner. I did it and you can too. Here are just a few helpful tips that worked wonders for me, and I know can for you as well.
Set Some Mini-Goals
Deciding you want to be a healthier person can be a tall order. So many changes to make, so many things to learn. When you think of all that lies in between who you are now and who you want to be, it can seem a bit overwhelming. And when we feel overwhelmed, we have a tendency to do nothing at all, and this is not good. I found setting little mini-goals was very helpful in making a less painful transition from the old, unhealthy me to the new, healthy me. For example, I would tell myself that for three nights this week, I would eat fruit for dessert instead of the usual cake, cookies or other sweet treats. I made minor adjustments to my meals to work in healthier foods. For instance, when I first started, I vowed to prepare a dinner that had at least two different kinds of non-starchy vegetables, instead of making bulkier carbs, like potatoes or rice the main side. I would commit to walking after dinner at least a few days a week for just 20 minutes, and I built it up from there. Setting health goals was key to making the changes I was after; be realistic, and be kind to yourself. Don’t expect to change completely overnight.
Find Healthy Habits that Make You Feel Good
This is a big one. When we first start making changes, being healthier can seem like a real drag. You feel there is so much you have to give up; your bad habits are so deeply ingrained, and breaking them feels really difficult. That is why it is important to do things that make you feel good about your efforts. If you like pampering yourself read up on customized massages meant to address specific health concerns. If you really like cooking, pick up some new cookbooks or seek out some new recipes online. Experiment with different forms of exercise, and working out at different times of the day to see what vibes with you the most. It will take some trial and error, but eventually you will find what works best for you, and keeps you motivated.
Learn to Be More Forgiving of Yourself
This is an important one when it comes to making significant changes in your life. You are not perfect; you have your bad habits; you might find it difficult to make these changes. It does not mean you are a weak, stupid person. You may have periods where you get lazy with your exercise, or you have a bingefest. You will probably feel guilty about it, and it will discourage you. But, just try to forgive yourself for your ‘’errors’’ and get back on the horse. Remember you are playing the long-game here. Be kind to yourself on this journey..don’t be too critical.