It is without question, that eating right, managing stress, getting enough sleep, and exercising are good for your health, but why are these things so hard to do!? These days, most of our American population is severely lacking in almost every single one of these VITAL categories to maintain good overall health. Why is it so hard to make behavior changes that are good for us!?
One common theme I see among friends, family, clients etc, is the lack of prioritizing these needs. When I really dig for the answer of why, it inevitably comes down to three reasons:
1. Feeling guilty about putting time and effort into themselves
2. Not knowing how to prioritize these needs in a reasonable way, and/ or
3. Lacking motivation to make changes.
I want to lay out each of these issues, and troubleshoot with you.
Make Yourself a Priority:
- Take a step back and look at where the majority of your efforts go, day to day. Now take a close look at your overall health. How do you look, feel, and perform in life?
- If the answer is not “good” or “great,” consider what will happen farther down the road if you don’t address your needs. That’s a key word- “NEEDS.” These four components (sleep, stress, nutrition and exercise) are not optional, if you want to have a long, healthy and happy life.
- If you find yourself spending most or all of your energy and time on others, consider that you deserve to spend an equal amount of effort and time on yourself. No one else can do these things for you! I can’t stress this point enough- You deserve to take the time, money, and/or effort for yourself, and ultimately your health.
- Consider who else will be affected by your long term health (physical and mental). Be optimal for your children, grandchildren, spouse, mom, dad, friends, yourself etc. You only have one life and one body, and you have a choice in how you live it!
- By taking care of yourself, you will be able to take better care of others, and with more pleasure. It’s a win win scenario.
Learn How to Prioritize:
- Don’t get overwhelmed and think each of these four factors need to change overnight, OR be perfect. Improvement is what you strive for.
- Identify what your biggest downfall is, within these four needs.
- Pick one or two things, and make a goal for improving upon it.
- Write out a goal that is totally reasonable, almost easy. One that you are sure to meet on a daily basis. Tell your friends and family about your goal. They will serve as your support team.
- Be really specific in your goal setting. For example, if you goal is to get more sleep, you haven’t defined what “more sleep” is. Make it a goal you can clearly identify that you have or haven’t met.
- Examples of some goals:
- Most people are not busy right up until they go to sleep. A reasonable goal would be to go to bed 30-45 mins earlier, if you are not getting 7-8 hours of sleep.
- Instead of eating a sugar or carb heavy breakfast, make a shopping trip and load up on frozen berries, almond milk, a good quality protein powder and coconut oil or avocado for shakes (all things that will keep for a very long time).
- If you want to include more activity in your lifestyle, involve others. It’s a great way to stay in contact with friends or family and spend quality time together. Spending time with people you enjoy, reduces stress. It’s a 2 in 1! Make your goal to do one activity on the weekend (or when you have time) with someone you enjoy being with.
- I will be the first to admit, that so often when we meet our goals (no matter how big or small), we don’t acknowledge them. When you have had success meeting your goal(s) long term, reward yourself (probably not with food).
- Build off your last goal, and develop a new one, once the old one is met.
- Consider why you want to make these changes. Really think about the impact it will have on you, and those that you know and love.
- At first, making changes can really use some willpower, but once you experience the positive effects on your body, you will want to keep it going. If you can just get past the initial start up and stick with it, your results will be one of your biggest motivators.
- Have a support system in place. Talk to your friends and family about the changes you are planning, and why it’s so important that you follow through. Tell them you need their support.
- Be gentle with yourself. If you fall off the wagon with your goal, acknowledge it and move on. Get back up. It’s no big deal! Beating yourself up over it, will only make things worse.
I hope these tips will help you realize that you deserve change, and you are in control of making it happen. So go ahead, and rock your mission!!