Your path to a healthy lifestyle, reaching your health goals and making changes that stick, has great rewards, but there’s a lot of obstacles you’ll face that will try to steer you off the right road.
You’ve probably dealt with some, if not all, of these roadblocks in your life already. In some cases, you may not even have realized what stood in your way on your road to better health. It’s as if something undefined just got into your path and disrupted your progress.
Luckily, you don’t have to give up on making the changes you need for a healthier life and having those changes last. Check out the following ten changes you need to make to your life for lasting good health.
1. Determine What Makes You Happy
This one is probably easier said than done, but you need to set goals and decide what success means to you and what makes you happy. Being perfectly fit but unhappy at the same time really isn’t worth it.
When it comes to your goals, work on setting ones that you can reach. Basically, your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely, which is also known as “SMART” goals. This is necessary for a lot of reasons. A goal that isn’t specific is too hard to work toward, and a goal that has no measure also has no signs of success. Realistic goals will keep you motivated, as they are possible to achieve, and timeliness simply means you have goals that can be accomplished within a reasonable amount of time.
Deciding what makes you happy is a little less cut and dry. Really take the time to figure out what makes you the most happy in life, so you know what to aim for and why.
2. Schedule Your Workouts
Make a workout schedule that you stick to and are strict about. Exercise is pretty much a necessity for good health, so you have to get yourself into the habit of doing it. Set yourself up an area, whether by joining your local gym or clearing out a spot in your home, that’s dedicated to working out so you’ll always have a place to go to. Create exercise challenges as well, so you get variety into your workout routine and are less likely to become bored. Do make sure you don’t overwork yourself, because if you suffer an injury, you’re more likely to fall right back out of the habit of working out.
3. Make Sleep A Priority
Set an actual bedtime and stick with it. No more working late into the night or just playing one extra game. Sleep is pretty much vital for everything, from your mental to your physical health. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, sleep deficiency can increase your risk for certain chronic heart conditions and negatively affect how you think, react, learn and even get along with other people.
Once you near your bedtime, turn the lights off and remove any distractions, such as your TV. Silence your cell phone or anything else that can wake you up. By getting yourself on a better sleeping schedule, you’ll feel better and have more energy overall. It’s important to eliminate sounds and lights that could be preventing you from entering a restful and deep sleep.
4. Look At Food As Fuel
How often you eat and the quality and quantity you consume is actually more important than exercise when it comes to reaching a healthy weight. Your body is like a car, and it needs the right fuel to run better, faster and in a more efficient manner. Just like you wouldn’t put cheap fuel that can gunk up the gears in your car, try to avoid eating unhealthy foods or overeating, as that has a similar effect on your body.
5. Work With Weights
Use a strength-training program to change your body’s overall composition and get more lean mass with less fat mass. The more muscle you have, the more fat you’ll burn, and it will also improve your metabolic rate.
Develop a program at your local gym with a trainer, or use free resources such as fitness forums to create your own. As with any other exercise, don’t overshoot, as you could end up harming yourself. Start off small and work yourself up to a more intense training program.
6. Develop Your Support System
Make sure the people around you believe in you and boost you up instead of dragging you down. People who truly care about you will want to see you happy and will want the best for you, and this includes your physical health. Try to find workout partners who have goals similar to yours, as they can share the journey with you and help you hold yourself accountable. In turn, you can help hold them accountable so that all of you are there for each other.
7. Learn To Forgive
Carrying around anger and pain can weigh you down mentally and even physically, in a sense. Your mind can have an impact on your body, so you want your mind to be in good shape too. Learn to offer forgiveness more, so you can let go and move on from the bad things in your life. This includes, most importantly, forgiving yourself. Remind yourself that humans make mistakes and that you are human. It may sound silly, but it’s important to keep the proper perspective when it comes to the errors you will definitely make in life.
8. Practice Contentment
Learning to be content with where you are when it comes to your body and your path to better health is important. While aspiring to an ideal is important for motivation, you’ll lose sight of your ultimate goals if you’re too busy being discouraged and comparing yourself to others. Adopt a more content and satisfied mindset to boost your confidence, your life outlook and inevitably, your health.
9. Lose Your Self-Doubt
While you should listen to your body, don’t use that as a way to give up on what you’ve decided to do. It will take hard work, strength and motivation to keep going on your path to better health, but stay positive and stick with it. Keep in mind that putting half the effort in will only give you half the results, so if you really want it, you’ve got to work for it and keep working until you’ve achieved your goals.
10. Avoid Taking Shortcuts
Generally, the long road is going to be the more successful one, and the tougher choices you make are probably going to be the most rewarding. When it comes to making a permanent lifestyle change, there are no shortcuts, no magic pills you can take to immediately cause a lasting change. Commit to the long path, as at the end of it, you’ll find a happier and healthier you.