In this article, I’ll explain how you can start a healthy lifestyle and stick with it.
If you’ve tried to start a healthy lifestyle in the past, you probably realized that it’s not as easy as it sounds. You may have every intention to start eating healthier or exercising more – and you’ve managed to stick with changes for short spurts of time – but pulling together a lifestyle plan that feels sustainable has been more of a challenge. And there is so much healthy living information floating around that how to start improving your health may seem confusing.
Below are 7 basic steps you can follow if you want to start creating healthier habits and a lifestyle that supports good health for a long time to come.
7 Steps to Start a Healthy Lifestyle and Stick With It
1. Determine why you want to make changes.
Anyone can change a behavior temporarily, but it takes a deeper commitment to make long lasting habit change.
2. Identify the unhealthy habits you would like to change.
Narrow down the actual area of your lifestyle that you would like to improve. Developing a healthy lifestyle doesn’t involve just one area such as eating habits or sleep. You might feel that you need to address a few areas like becoming more active, eating healthier meals, getting better sleep, or something else.
To start a healthy lifestyle and stick with it, you’ll want to work to reform one area of your lifestyle at a time. An overall healthy lifestyle involves your physical, emotional, occupational health and many of other areas too. So identify which areas feel out of balance and start addressing those first.
3. Be realistic about your time-frames.
Recognize and accept that change takes time, and forming lasting habits is a process.
4. Anticipate bumps in the road.
Getting distracted or getting off track can happen when we’re working on a goal. Realize that this may happen and anticipate these events. Commit to getting back on track quickly.
5. Make a clear plan with realistic goals.
Creating goals gives you a focal point as you work on healthy changes. A measurable goal also gives you a way to gauge your progress and helps keep you motivated. Add in a few baby steps and you’re on your way to start a healthy lifestyle you can stick with.
6. Track your progress.
Keep a record of your starting point. If you are working on losing weight, keep a log of your weight from week to week. You might also record notes on what’s working and what’s not so you can reference this as you tweak your plan.
7. Develop an accountability system.
You’ve probably started dozens of new habits or diets or exercise programs over the years. How many would you say you’ve actually stuck with? The problem for many of us isn’t starting, it’s staying committed.
If you want to start a healthy lifestyle and stick with it, you’ll need a way to keep yourself motivated and accountable. Do you need additional motivation and accountability from an external source? Perhaps you are more likely to make progress when you have someone to “report” to. Consider enlisting help from your family, friends, or hiring a professional coach to help you stay on track.
Start a Healthy Lifestyle and Stick With It: The Bottom Line
As you can see, a sustainable healthy lifestyle plan involves more than a few whimsical goals. You’ll want to dive deeper into your motivators, take a realistic approach and identify what might go wrong and how to work around obstacles that come up along the way. Put your attention on these 7 areas and you’ll have all the tools to start a healthy lifestyle and stick with it.
Alicia Hyatte is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Family Wellness Advocate, Health Educator, and a Diabetes Prevention Lifestyle Coach. She helps parents to build healthier habits and routines to better balance home and work life. Her website, WholeFamilyLiving.com, provides motivation and simple strategies for handling everyday challenges like managing stress, being active, eating healthier, losing weight, and more. Alicia is a beach lover and gardening geek in her spare time.