Better health sounds good, but does making changes seem too overwhelming? Does going to the gym five days a week for 45 minutes trigger hyperventilation, or does just thinking about eating only healthy food lead you to fears of deprivation and starvation? Better health is easier to accomplish one step at a time.
Let’s tackle the issue of exercise. Instead of setting an initial goal of going to the gym five times a week for 45 minutes, let’s set a more realistic goal. Your first goal is to do a little preliminary groundwork.
- For starters, perhaps you need to have a conversation with your doctor regarding your health.
- Researching different kinds of exercise to determine what might be the least unpleasant to you and fits your lifestyle is also a good preliminary step. Do you see yourself as a going-to-the-gym person, a working-out-at-home person, or a running- or walking-person? Let’s say you decide that working out at home is a better option for you.
- Next you can look at which DVDs might interest you or which equipment you might need. I’m betting that purchasing DVDs, a yoga mat, a few weights, and some workout shoes is cheaper than most gym memberships. Plus, you won’t have to wait on other customers at a gym to finish with the equipment you need to use and you won’t have to take time from your schedule to drive to and from the gym.
Once you’ve laid the groundwork, you’re ready for the next step. Start the exercise program. But start it slowly. This approach will also make it less likely that you will injure yourself.
- Initially, your only goal is to get some exercise into your schedule. For example, maybe you’re going to work out at home on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. If that’s the case, for the first week, all you do is a five-minute warm-up. Five minutes, you say? What a waste of time, you say. Remember, your initial goal is to just get it in your schedule.
- After the first or second week, you can add a minute or two to your exercise program. And then after that, you can add another minute or two and so on. You can always find another minute or two, but it is very difficult to suddenly find 45 minutes plus drive-time five times a week.
This same idea can be used for improving your diet. Make one change a month lest you be overcome by a fear of deprivation or starvation.
- For example, maybe you need to start by drinking more water. If so, that’s the only change you make for the first month.
- Maybe you need to cut out a few desserts. If that’s the case, then that’s the change you make the second month. If you typically have dessert after most evening meals, maybe you start by cutting out dessert only on Monday nights and then a few weeks later cutting out dessert also on Thursday nights. To make it easier to cut back on calories, eat foods that have a lower food insulin index.
- If you’re drinking too much caffeine, start by cutting out that last cup of coffee of the day. A few weeks later, you can cut out that second cup. Cutting out caffeine will also decrease anxiety.
I think you get the idea. Set goals that are achievable, not overwhelming. Set goals that you can be successful at reaching. Success always feels better than failure. If you continue with setting achievable goals, just think where you’ll be in one year. Better health will also help lift depression and decrease anxiety.
Pretty amazing, huh? Good luck and you can do it!