We have all been there, wanting to make changes to your life. It might be quitting smoking, moving more, eating better, and losing those kgs. All of these are goals around your health and aim to improve your well being, and hopefully your mental state as well. But where do you start? How do you change something that has potentially been a part of you for years.
It can be a bit daunting, and generally this all comes up around this time of year. Summer is upon us and New Year’s resolutions are in play.
I think the key to it is wanting the change. You need to do it for you. No one else, or it just won’t happen. You will fail because your heart isn’t in it, and the results just won’t seem appealing if you don’t have the vested belief.
So how do you get that?
It won’t just happen. People can try towards these types of goals for years, with countless failures until one day something clicks and they make it. It’s the old saying; ‘it’s not how you fall, its how you pick yourself back up’.
Consider your lifestyle and what actually causes the habit you want to break in the first place.
Do you come home late from work, tired and stressed that it’s easier to pick something upf or takeaway on the way home then it is to cook a meal? Perhaps consider picking up sushi instead of fish and chips. Are you too busy to make a salad for your lunch so instead you get meat pie from the bakery? Try changing the pie to a wrap. Do you find a gym scary and don’t want to enter one just yet? Start walking to work or parking further away to help shed those first couple of kgs to help you feel a bit better. Perhaps you smoke out of boredom, or when you drink alcohol? Reduce your alcohol intake, attend venues where you aren’t able to smoke, or start having cups of tea in place of the smoke.
Now those first little changes have been made, they are easier to achieve then quitting cold turkey, then committing to a gym when you have never been to one in your life or changing to green salads for every meal.
You can stick to plans like this for a few weeks before you make your next change. This might be joining that gym or a boot camp, switching your beer for a healthier red wine, jogging to work instead of walking or trying to take up meal preparations for your weekly dinners and lunch instead of takeaway.
Again being another adjustment, that wont seem as big now the first one has been made. This change can stick around for a few more weeks again before you alter it.
Continuing to change your plans and routine will also see that you remain interested, stimulated and that your body will continue to respond. If you do not make changes you become complacent and you may even drop back into old habits.
It takes four weeks to create a habit, with the above suggestions we are already at that time.
You will feel an improvement and hopefully see one too.
It is also important to gain that support from friends, family and colleagues. Challenge your partner to help you too, they might even be able to help with the meal organizing. Tell yoru friends about your smoking plans so that they can help arrange events that don’t allow it. Invite a work mate to walk to work with you, that way you can’t bail on the idea. It is important your network understands otherwise they will make it too easy for you to lapse.
I think change is exciting, a challenge and a great way to see for yourself what you can achieve.
But if first you don’t succeed, try and try again.