Beginning a journey to care for your health and wellbeing can be overwhelming. There are many components to a healthy lifestyle that all influence each other, and because of this determining where to start may be difficult. Whether it’s a goal to improve sleep, healthy eating, fitness, stress (or all the above), every road to a healthy lifestyle is a process and starts with preparation. Let’s explore this process and help with planning an approach to a life of healthy living.
A goal without a plan is a wish. Our best shot at achieving our goals is to have a plan of attack. For some this may be detailed, others not so much. But you must have one and it must come first. Three things to keep in mind when setting the plan for your goal are:
Set Your Focus
If you find yourself needing to improve many aspects of your health, then you need to determine what you want to focus on first. Figure out what you feel will have the biggest impact on your health. What are you lacking most? Most importantly what is the most meaningful to you and gives you the most motivation?
Set goals for your focus.
If your focus is exercise, create goals and structure to your plan. Some questions may be…
-What days of the week?
– How often?
– Time of the day?
– What type of exercise?
Keep your focus narrow.
It is okay to focus on multiple aspects of your health, but it could become overwhelming. Focus on one until you at least establish a consistent routine before moving on to the next. For many this may be difficult because they want to see results fast. Be patient.
Now that you have a plan and structure it’s time to take action. Every decision is important. The only way to ensure longevity of a healthy lifestyle is by setting your health as a priority. Sometimes the first things we move when our schedule varies are the things that impact our health. For example, staying up late watching our favorite show causes us to miss out on sleep – or skipping lunch to catch up on work. Your health is a priority and sometimes if you do not fight for it, it will fade.
Consistent healthy choices turn into a healthy routine. A pattern of success is the bridge between short- and long-term success. A routine may be daily or weekly or more. Track your success and look back on the routine to see how well you stuck to the plan. Occasionally we all have a bump in the road, however, we need to find a way to stay on the track.
This feels good! How do you know if you have made a habit out of your healthy routine? If you don’t do it, you feel off. This usually takes a few months for it to become second nature. At this point you are over the hill it is much easier to continue your healthy habit once you have reached this point.
A healthy lifestyle maintains a balance of multiple healthy habits that all impact your wellness. At the YMCA we emphasize that this is all impacts your mind, body and spirit. Whether sleep, socialization, nutrition, fitness, living a healthy lifestyle means constantly striving to maintain healthy habits as a lifelong journey.