We’re all greatly concerned with our health, as we should be. But too often, people start their journey to a better, healthier version of themselves fueled by negativity more than anything else. They don’t like who they are, they’re driven by fear of what can come from it, and they’re suffering through the changes they make. Yes, no pain, no gain is very real. But you’re trying to make sustainable life-long changes and being miserable isn’t going to help you do that. Here’s how to start making those changes and your life a more positive experience.
Start with positive thinking
It all begins by changing your frame of mind. Positive thinking doesn’t mean ignoring the real risks that might await if you don’t change your lifestyle. However, it focuses more on the results of what’s to come. Don’t look at how far you are away from your goals. Be aware that you won’t get there in one day, one week, one month, maybe even one year. But you’re taking the steps to get you there and every little change you make is doing you and your body good. Stop thinking that you can’t do it and, most importantly, surround yourself with people who say you can do it.
Take it one at a time
A lot of big lifestyle changes fail because people tend to take on a little more than they can chew. Those who have a comprehensive approach to changing their life have a great frame of mind to start with. Wanting to change it all and live better all-around is admirable. But it is unrealistic. Give yourself goals that you take on one at a time. Work on one area of fitness until it becomes natural, and move onto the rest. Change one part of your diet until it barely bears thinking about, then move onto another part. Set yourself one goal at a time, then move onto the next. Throwing yourself in the deep end is an easy way to find yourself drowning in the effort of it all.
Don’t sweat the difficulties
Yes, you are going to come up against barriers. Most of them aren’t going to be because you are just fundamentally unable to accomplish what you want to. Most of them are going to be because you don’t fully know what you’re doing. You don’t yet know how to exercise properly and avoid common workout mistakes. You don’t know what nutritious eating should really be like. When facing those first barriers, a lot of people make the assumption they can’t do it. Instead, be willing to learn, be willing to feel a little naïve and foolish at times but with the understanding that you’re coming out on the other side with a more complete knowledge of what you need to do. It takes courage, but you can find that in yourself.
Flush the bad
It’s not just about your mentality when it comes to living a healthier life, either. Your body harbors a lot of toxins and negative influences that impact your mood, your energy, and your general health. Beyond changing your diet and exercising more, it’s a good idea to give your body a proper cleanse. A 14 day detox tea plan doesn’t just have the real impact of flushing your liver, improving your energy, and boosting your metabolism. It feels great, too. It feels like you’re clearing your body of all the impurities getting in your way. After that, starting with a fresh slate feels a lot more achievable.
Drop the habits
You’re not going to feel that fresh start if you have old, bad habits holding you back, either. Before you start exercising or dieting, you should look at the other vices that are causing real damage in your life. Some smoke, some drink too much, some even get themselves in positions of stress because it’s addicting to them. Quitting vices is not easy and demands your full attention, so you should try to do so before you throw yourself into your other lifestyle goals. Be honest about your vices and making the choice to live without them. Then make yourself accountable for it. Tell people in your life what you’re doing so they can occasionally help you or just remind you of your promise to yourself.
Feel alive, don’t deprive
When it comes to diet, the idea of positivity might seem entirely foreign to some people. These people most likely haven’t been dieting the right way. Yes, you need to cut out the processed carbs, the empty sugars, and large amounts of fat. But you don’t have to deprive your life of food or even food that tastes good. With proper meal planning and reliance on a broader range of whole, great tasting foods, your diet will easily feel complete even if you’re not eating as much milk chocolate. What you need to avoid in the vast majority of cases are the extreme diets that have you eating only a very small scope of foods or reducing your caloric intake to almost zero. They only help with very short-term goals and often bring a series of risks or side-effects that make a healthy lifestyle much harder to continue.
Take sleep seriously
There are a very scant number of people known as the sleepless elite whose bodies can function healthily and thrive with fewer than four hours of sleep a night. The chances are that everyone reading this is not going to be one of the sleepless elite. You cannot maintain exercise, a positive attitude, and healthy eating if you’re not getting enough sleep. Your body wouldn’t even get the full effects of these changes if you could. To that end, make sure you’re not only sleeping enough but that you’re sleeping as works best with your body clock. Counting your sleep cycles and setting alarms to help you stick to them will help you feel a lot more rested when you wake.
Make it routine
The most important part of all these changes is to make them part of a routine, not just a project that you’re currently working on but may later drop. A routine means that you need to add a bit more structure to your life. You will find it easier to put aside the time to cook a healthy meal or to go for a brisk walk if the rest of the day is structured. To that end, all healthy days begin with a morning routine. Breakfast, a workout, a shower, even meditation. Structure the start of your day so the rest of it feels like it’s going as you wanted it to.
Don’t look back in anger
How we measure how far we’ve come is hugely important, too. For one, when you slip up, don’t despair. Acknowledge it, own it, and get over it so you can try again tomorrow. One failed day does not mean all your effort is for nothing. That idea that you need something to show for your effort can make it a lot easier to stick to your changes in the long run. When you complete goals, mark them down in a journal. Add to that little steps and accomplishments you’ve made along the way. If you don’t see the physical changes accompanying your progress, find a bit of perspective. It’s hard to see the slow changes in the mirror every morning. By taking progress pics, however, you can see how far you’ve come a lot easier. That can be just the morale boost you need to keep it going.
There will be tough moments. There will be some doubts. There will be times when you’re not sure you have the motivation. But the tips above should help you conquer all those and come out on the other side as a much stronger, happier person.