Many people have given up on setting goals for their personal health. They’ve had it with ramping up their determination to change only to be disappointed a short time later. Perhaps you recently set some personal health goals but already feel as though you’re failing.
As long as you’ve determined not to give up, you’re not failing. If you haven’t given up, then you’re still fighting and that’s where you want to stay. You can do it. If you need some motivation to get started, here are six steps to take to better your health for the long run. They’re focused on getting you out of the cut and dry goal/failure pattern so common in short-term goal pursuits. What you want to focus on is lasting, lifelong change. Whether you desire to start strength training, spend more time with family, or just lose a few pounds, implementing these steps will put you on track to do just that.
Channel Your Frustration
If you’re having a difficult time taking charge of your health then frustration and anger are understandable emotions. If you’re angry and fed up about coming up short, good! Get mad as heck. Step back from your dilemma and evaluate it as a person would who is outside of your problem.
No, you don’t have to handle your inward frustration by ordering every item on the dollar menu. Nor do you have to take it out on your dog or those closest to you.
Channel those pent up emotions and use them for fuel that will race you toward your goals. If you don’t, you’ll likely keep staring at your obstacles and they’ll continue to look bigger and bigger. That will only lead to discouragement or, in the long term, depression. Do something about it now while you’re still angry.
One at a Time
Think in multiples of one. Pick the one thing you most want to change for the better and work on it. When you’ve conquered that one thing, move on to the next one. Here’s why.
You may have made a personal health goal list that looked something like this in the past.
My daily goals for improved personal health:
-Eat no processed sugar
-Say or think nothing negative
-Spend two hours of uninterrupted time with family each evening
-Run six miles
-Read 100 pages of a book
-Write an encouraging note to someone
-Abstain from eating food that I would enjoy in any way
-Brush and floss three times daily
-Walk the dogs (one at a time)
-Work (at least ten hours each day)
-Cook a meal
-Do the dishes
-Relax (2.5 minutes daily)
-Sleep no more than three hours each night (to ensure all above-mentioned must dos happen every day)
Ok, that’s exaggerated, but you get the point. If you try grasping for everything at once you’ll end up with nothing. Consistency over time is more powerful than attempting to take over the world in a short amount of time. If your health goals seem insurmountable, they may be. Small steps every day toward a specific goal are better than several days every once in a while that you are awesome.
If you try to do too much at one time you’ll give up. It has nothing to do with you being inferior to others. It just means you’re human. Focusing on one thing at a time will significantly improve your chances of success.
Adversity in your life is like water current, which is an analogy appropriate for all setbacks that attempt to pull you in the direction opposite of the way you need to go. Mental preparation for these life difficulties will keep you from letting unexpected challenges derail your goals.
If you have pressures, stressors, and adversities, you’re completely normal. You may have a nagging cold, ongoing job stress, or a physical injury. Whatever the struggle, instead of being surprised by theses ups and downs, expect them. Other people achieve their health goals despite daily obstacles, and so can you.
This is different from developing a cynical, negative view on life as you continually recount all that’s keeping you from your goals. Avoid that at all costs. It will turn into self-inflicted adversity. Don’t create more current for yourself. What takes place naturally is more than enough!
Choose to consistently make good health choices despite these obstacles. If you just sprained an ankle, jogging is obviously out of the question for a while, but you still can eat healthily and stay active in ways that won’t delay recovery. Maintaining a positive attitude will make all the difference. When it comes time to start running again, by having focused on what you could do instead of what you couldn’t, you will have a noticeable advantage. Instead of sulking and becoming weaker, you’ll have done what you could. You’ll be a stronger person in mind, heart, and body after overcoming that particular struggle. When the next challenge comes down the road, you’ll be ready.
That kind of overcoming attitude is what personal health success is all about. It’s the difference between letting current take you where you don’t want to go and using it to your advantage.
Chart Your Progress
This doesn’t have to take a lot of time. It can be a paper on a wall with slash marks. For example, you can mark down how many days in a row you abstained from eating cheese curls. Count up the days you didn’t give in to cheese curls. Focusing on the days you failed will only lead to discouragement. And ongoing discouragement will make it difficult to sustain healthy change.
This will be especially helpful if you start to buy into black-and-white thinking during one of your low moments (everyone has them). Such thinking will cause you to feel like Rocky Balboa one day and like a ruined stockbroker the next.
When you start feeling as though you’ve done nothing right, pull out that chart and take notice of your progress. Remembering your victories will help you get through times of defeat. When black and white thinking pays you a visit, bring out the facts.
Every Day for the Rest of Your Life
Many people fail at their goals in the long term after achieving short-term success. Inwardly, they think they’ve arrived, and the hard work is over. There’s nothing wrong with taking a breather, which you do need occasionally. However, an extended break would cause you to lose everything you worked so hard to achieve.
People need to see improvement and progress in life; otherwise, life begins to look bleak. You’ll never arrive at personal health perfection. You can still make small improvements every day, though.
Truly fulfilling accomplishments and achievements keep getting better. This progress is what gives people the drive to get out of bed in the morning and keep striving.
Make More Time
The idea of making more time sounds funny at first. After all, no one can add any more to their day or week. But the reality is, no matter how motivated you are to achieve your goals, you never will if you’re too busy.
Sometimes work and hobbies get in the way; other times, the culprits are watching television or playing solitaire. The obvious time wasters are easier to remedy because you can better reason that they have to stop or at least diminish. You may have to cut back on overtime or change your career. Coming up with a time budget is not unlike budgeting money. You have limited amounts of both.
Identify time-wasters in your life and cut them out as soon as you can. You may be surprised to find how much time you’ll have to spend on what matters most.
Lifelong health doesn’t just happen by accident. It’s intentional. Keeping these six steps to lasting health in mind will help you stay the course. Be encouraged that you can change for the better starting today, and continue for the rest of your life.