When it comes to fun, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Exercising? Eating more vegetables and fruits? Or maybe eliminating some bad habits? Okay before you close this webpage hear me out. I must admit that these are not the first things that come to my mind either for the “fun” category!
Creating a new healthy you isn’t without it’s challenges, but it also doesn’t have to be a constant struggle. Instead of thinking negatively about the changes you need to make, I want to encourage you to embrace these healthy changes. “How?” you say? By focusing on the good things that will manifest with these changes!
Here are some suggestions to make the switch far less painful and much more, (Dare I say it?) fun!
Try Something New
I know getting out of your comfort zone may not sound like a lot of fun, but you’d be surprised. How do you know if you will like it or not unless you try? Too, don’t give up too soon. I have found that I didn’t enjoy some things at the beginning, but as I gave it some time I grew to enjoy it. Join a health class, gym, or start playing a sport. If you are the social type, start your own group with your family or friends and play volleyball or some other activity that helps you keep moving. You will reach your goals faster and expand your network.
Use The Buddy System
That’s right, I’m talking about accountability. Get a friend or family member involved by participating in the activity with you whether it’s eating better, exercising, etc. This will help keep you on track. I once asked a friend to start texting me at a certain time in the morning during the week to see if I was up yet. I kept the phone outside of the bedroom so I had to get up to access it. If I didn’t reply within 5 minutes, I was in trouble as my friend knew I was sleeping in! You are much less likely to hit that snooze button if you know someone will waiting on you at the gym or to go on that walk.
It’s also wonderful to have someone you can share your progress with and to rejoice with them in their victories. The buddy system works, so what are you waiting for?
Document Your Journey
It’s hard to fully appreciate where you are now if you have forgotten where you came from. This doesn’t have to take a lot of time or be complicated. A simple example would be before and after photos if you are trying to lose weight. If you are technically savvy, there are all kinds of apps for tablets and smartphones that you can use. You can even use social media. I know one guy who actually created a special page on Facebook and asked a number of friends and family to like the page. He would post anything healthy that he did each day. This way he had a place where he could see all the things he had done and it was encouraging to him to see how much he was accomplishing. Too, it added a level of accountability as if he stopped posting, people started asking him what was wrong! He also enjoyed all the “likes” and affirmations he would receive.
For those of you who are old school, no worries. Keep a journal of personal milestones, what is working, and what doesn’t work. Print a photo of yourself before you start that weight loss program and one after you reach your goal. It never seems fun to snap those “before” pictures, but it IS fun to look at them after you have reached your goal. By documenting, you’ll leave yourself a trail of encouragement to refer back to if you hit some bumps in the road.
By the way, if you doubt that writing down your goals and dreams is really important, read the book “Write It Down, Make It Happen: Knowing What You Want And Getting It” by Henriette Anne Klauser.
I see that smile on your face! I knew you would like this one. It is important to reward yourself when you work hard and hey, you deserve it. Set a milestone and then predetermine a reward you will get when you reach it. Maybe that gizmo you have always wanted, some new clothes, or maybe just an evening of relaxing with a good movie.
Personally, I added another layer to this thought process that increased my success in reaching my goals. I not only added a reward if I was successful, I also added a negative consequence if I was NOT successful. I did this because I found that sometimes my will power would wane and the reward was not motive enough. Sometimes, people will do more to avoid pain then gain pleasure. I would write down the reward and the negative consequence and give that to my accountability partner. This ensured that I would do my absolute best to reach the goal.
Now a word of caution when setting rewards. Try to make the reward something that will have a positive effect on your life and health. Setting a reward of eating a whole chocolate cake if you lose 5 pounds may not be the best reward! I’m not saying you can’t have a “cheat” day or enjoy yourself as a treat from time to time, but make those rewards something that will ADD to your life and health, not derail you from reaching your goals.
All the sacrifices you make getting healthier will be worth it. Just be sure to have some fun along the way!
If you need more help with plotting a course find out more about the Mandala Lifestyle Program:
Or call our office to get a free health assessment.
Dr. Shah, MD