How To Live A Healthy Lifestyle You Won't Want To Give Up On

Self, Health And Wellness

How To Live A Healthy Lifestyle You Won't Want To Give Up On

Healthy shmelthy, as my grandparents would say.  Most of us have the best of intentions to” become healthier”. But what does that even mean?  More importantly, what does a healthy lifestyle mean TO YOU?

Consider the time honored tradition  of making (and breaking!) New Year’s resolutions. In 2019, the top 3 resolutions among 2000 respondents pertained to “becoming healthier”, according to Inc.com.  These resolutions included: #1. Diet or eat healthier (71 percent) 2. Exercise more (65 percent)3. Lose weight (54 percent).   According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, only 8 percent of us are successful in sustaining a healthy lifestyle (as defined by fitness, weight, and eating behavior).

Clarity:  We are more likely to achieve our goal of ‘healthy lifestyle’ if we clearly define what that means to us. For example, does it mean eating only organic foods? Walking and biking instead of driving a vehicle to work? Enhancing our social connections and community service?

We need to ‘operationally define” a healthy lifestyle that is meaningful to us. It is not about what is touted on social media, the internet, or by friends as ‘healthy lifestyle’.  Sorry, Gwenyth Paltrow  - Goop does not define healthy lifestyle for the masses!

Realistic:  Lofty goals are obviously much harder to achieve, yet we tend to set goals that may be too ambitious. Think more tortoise than hare. Think of the long term. Pace yourself. One step at a time.  Too many changes, too soon is too much to ask of ourselves and is a recipe for giving up.

Meaning: The more personally meaningful pursuing health is, the more likely we will stick with it. If the lifestyle changes are to incorporate exercise x number of times per week because our spouse wants us to do so, we are less likely to be successful than if the reason is more intrinsic. Training for a 5k with friends to raise funds for a favorite charity is probably a much more appealing motivator.

Overwhelm:  There is often a tendency to approach a “healthier lifestyle” in an all-or-none kind of way. People typically attempt to make too many changes as once. This is a set up for failure. Breaking down and clarifying the personal meaning of  “healthier lifestyle” improves our likelihood of continuity. If we try to make too many changes at once, we are likely to feel frustrated and quit, only to ‘start again tomorrow”. This ‘stinking thinking’  leads to demoralization and is the opposite of the kind of vibe we want to generate for ourselves.

What to do?

Take pause and ENJOY the benefits of your efforts. Be on your own side and recognize the time and energy you are devoting to enhance the quality of your life. Change that lasts takes time.

Have FUN! Gloom and doom goals are destined to be short lived. Find the joy in what you are working toward and doing. 

The more you can feel the immediate and short term benefits of what you are doing, the more  likely you are to continue .  While it sounds simple, it is. But it is not easy to implement. Use your thoughts to your advantage. Set yourself up for success.

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My personal favorite tip is “Do not let perfection be the enemy of good.”