Adopting healthier lifestyle habits can feel challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. One of the best ways to make changes is to do it incrementally. Here’s how.
Write out your road map
Think of your health in different domains. Maybe you want to make improvements to your physical health, emotional health, nutritional health and/or spiritual health. List each domain and include a sentence or two that helps you get clear about what you want to accomplish, and why. For example:
- For physical health
- What – reduce your blood pressure or cholesterol levels.
- Why – to reduce or eliminate medication or have fewer headaches.
- For emotional health
- What – plan how you will support yourself when you feel anxious.
- Why – feeling anxious can be unpleasant but is normal. Knowing how to care for yourself can help you feel more in control and less anxious about feeling anxious.
Add in some stops
You won’t get to your final destination right away. That’s okay. As the saying goes, a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step. Here are some examples of small steps:
For nutritional health
- Drink a glass of water instead of soda or juice.
- Have a piece of fruit instead of sugary snacks.
- Aim for at least 5 fruits and veggies daily.
For spiritual health
- Read something that inspires you
- Spend time in nature
- Pray or meditate
Check in with your map
The best way to get where you want to go is to chart a course and head in that direction. It is wise to confirm periodically that you are going the right way. Each day, remind yourself about your intent to live a healthier lifestyle. Decide which small steps you will take. Measure each choice you are faced with against your destination. Will the action move you closer to or further away from your goal? Do what moves you closer.
Committing to a healthier lifestyle is important because it can improve the overall quality of your life and well-being. Your attitude about the commitment will shape your experience of it. If you think of it as a drag, it will likely feel like a drag and you probably won’t do well. Think of it as an investment in you and you will likely feel motivated and enjoy more success. Make a plan and make up your mind that you are worth it.