Every year people make the decision to get healthier. Maybe you want to lose weight, reduce stress, or change your eating habits. Whatever your health goal is, you need a plan to get there. Transforming your health won’t happen overnight, but if you make small, measurable changes you can achieve your health goals.
Unfortunately, many of us approach our health goals with the wrong strategy. Instead of making small, realistic modifications to our lives, we drastically change everything all at once. This is one of the reasons why you see so many people lose weight only to gain it all back a year later. The best approach to changing your health is to take it easy and make realistic, sustainable changes to your lifestyle. Research supports this approach. People who successfully improve their health do it in stages.
Here are 5 easy tips you can use to achieve your health goals
Have a positive mindset
If you’ve ever set goals before, you know that people work hardest on the goals they really want to accomplish. Things that aren’t important to you or that you don’t have your own motivation to work on won’t happen.
If you want to be successful and make long-lasting changes, you need to be self-motivated. Your goals need to come from within. Don’t design your goals based on guilt or regret. Create goals that you look forward to achieving. Having an internal desire to improve your life and a positive mindset is a key component to reaching your goals.
Write your goals down
You may have heard this quote before. “A goal that is not written down is a wish.” Decide what changes you want to make in your life and write your goals down. Make your goals S.M.A.R.T. S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.
It’s hard to achieve goals that aren’t specific or measurable. If you make a vague goal like “I want to get healthier”, you have no way to determine when you actually accomplish this. This is why you need to make your goals simple and specific. Take some time to identify specific health goals you would like to accomplish and give yourself a time-frame for reaching your goal. For example, I will lose 15 lbs by my birthday.
Make small changes
Trying to overhaul your entire life can leave you feeling overwhelmed and defeated. Remember that slow progress is still progress. Focus on making small incremental changes to your routines. Instead of trying to add an hour of exercise a day, try taking a 20-minute walk three times a week. If you normally order take-out food for lunch, try packing your lunch a few times a week. If you drink soda, try cutting out one soda a day. When people start small and make simple changes, the benefits pay off over time and are more sustainable.
Be flexible with your goals
Have you ever struggled with “I’ll start over on Monday” syndrome? Sometimes people create very rigid goals. You need to be flexible when you work on your health goals. You can’t always stick with a routine or plan. Life happens. You have to work late or you have a bad day and don’t feel like working on your goal. Some days you won’t have time to pack a lunch, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make healthy eating choices. The little improvements you make to your day-to-day life will make the biggest impact on your overall health.
Find an accountability partner
People need cheerleaders, but they also need accountability. Sometimes we are not the best at holding ourselves accountable. If you are the only person who knows your goals, you may lose focus or motivation. An accountability partner helps you stay on track. Set a regular time to talk to your accountability partner and go over your progress for the week. Let them know what you were successful with and what you need to work harder on.
This is where a health coach can really help. Having a coach provides you with a reliable partner who knows about your specific health conditions and life. She can help you to create goals that are best for you and give you advice when you need it.