Making the change to be healthier is hard. First, you have to decide to do it. You have to identify that the way you’re living, eating and spending your time is not benefitting you or your family.
For me, this has been a major struggle. I used to run all the time. You didn’t have to talk to me long to figure out my passion for it. However, I let my emotions and depression get the better of me. Before I knew it, I found myself back where I started a few years ago. On top of that, I just had my daughter so it’s more of a challenge to get back on track.
But here I am. Hitting the pavement with all I have. Trying to make it stick. Let’s be honest. It’s HARD. Change is never easy. But there are a few tips I found that helped me really put my words into action. So far, I’m down 10 pounds and feeling more confident by the day.
Here are some quick tips to help you take the first step to a healthier lifestyle.
- Set Goals. Take a pencil or pen and write on a piece of paper what you want to accomplish. It could be training for a 5K, toning your arms or eating healthier. Whatever it is, write it down. Hang it up where you can see it every day. This will help you stay focused and hopefully help you meet your goal.
- Start Small. As you set your goals, remember to build up to those really high goals. This tip has always been tough for me. I get big ideas in my head, go out the next day and fail. I get frustrated and immediately quit because I didn’t reach that goal. Making small changes like adding more exercise throughout your week or eating healthier food can be a great way to start. For example, if you can’t run a mile, running a marathon in a month may not be the best idea. Instead, work up to running a mile. Soon, you’ll be running 26.2 miles. Realize things take time. Start off with goals that are attainable.
- Mind Over Matter. You’d be surprised how much you can accomplish when you change the way you think. Instead of, “I have to work out today” tell yourself, “I get to work out today.” When we focus on the sacrifice instead of the reward we often lose interest. If you’ve ever done box jumps you know that when you hesitate, you’ll fall off or bang your shins. It’s not fun. When you have confidence meeting that goal, you will start to see what you’re really capable of.
- Make the Change for You. If someone else is pushing you to do it, or you’re doing it for the perfect body…then that may not stick. It has to come from deep down. Find what drives you to want to make a healthy change. Write that down. Memorize it. So when you find yourself wanting to quit, you can remember why you started.
- Find a Friend to Join. When you’re becoming healthy you are changing your lifestyle. Let’s be honest. Having a friend join you can make it an easier transition. For example, sweet treats always seem to show up at work the day you decide to quit sugar. You can use that friendship to help stay on track despite the temptations. You have each other’s backs in the gym and when you pass by Krispy Kreme.
- Don’t Make Excuses. Guilty! I can make an excuse for every scenario why I can’t go for a run. After a while, I actually got tired of hearing my own excuses. While some may be legit, they were allowing me to justify my laziness. You may complain all the way to the gym, but excuses are like opinions. Everybody has one.
- Ditch TV and Facebook. You don’t have to delete Netflix or Facebook. However, find something else to do with your time. I had to do this recently because I saw myself quickly losing focus on everything I did. At work, spending time with my family and even my goals. It’s not healthy to let stuff like that control your time.
- Keep Moving. Another challenging thing for me. Especially when I really want to watch Netflix. Now, I find stuff to do around the house or in the yard. If I can’t find anything there I go somewhere. I try to stay active throughout the day. If you’re a mom, then I know it seems like there is always something to clean. If you get bored with that, then find something in your community to get involved in. Even if you do that one hour workout, watching Netflix the rest of the day will cancel out your hard work.
- Schedule Your Workout. If I don’t have a set time frame then I never seem to make it to my workout. I’ll get busy with other stuff and before I know it I’m going to bed without meeting my goal. If you have a toddler like me, exercise while they nap. Take that time to do a quick workout. If they won’t nap, then do the workout with them. My daughter loves when I put her on my shoulders for squats.
- Include Your Family. This follows beautifully behind number 9. I love finding time to work out by myself. But that isn’t always ideal. Instead of me getting frustrated that my daughter is awake, I use her in my workout. I put her in the stroller and go for a quick jog. I will toss her up in the air to work out my arms. I even put her on my legs to add weight. Another way to include family is finding something fun to do together. Weekends are a great time to go on hikes or take a brisk stroll on the Riverwalk. Finding fun family outings can also help you with number 8.
- Find Fun Workouts. If you hate running, you probably shouldn’t try to run a 5K. Unless that is your goal. You may prefer biking instead. When you find something that will keep your interest, you will stay with it longer. Changing your workout routine every six weeks is another way to not get bored. You will also be working out different muscles by switching it up.
- Don’t Be Hard on Yourself. It seems like we are always trying to be perfect. That mindset can really hinder us in the long run. If you miss a workout or eat unhealthy, don’t let it keep you from your goals. You are human. It’s okay to have a break from the gym. It’s okay to eat a cup of ice cream. Just don’t let those few choices derail your goals. This journey is about becoming a healthier you. Not a perfect you.
Once again, these are some tips that helped me really zone in on my goals. I hope they can help you get started on your journey to a healthier you. As long as you work hard and keep going you will see results.