Spring is the season of renewal and new beginnings. It’s when the days are longer and the air is becoming warmer. This time of year can motivate and inspire us to make changes that improve our happiness and well-being. It’s a great time to pause and reflect, and re-evaluate goals we’ve been struggling with or perhaps set a new one. Maybe you’ve wanted to make a change in your life, such as eating healthier or exercising more. Now is the perfect time to spring into action. Here are six tips to help you make healthy lifestyle changes that last:
Choose your goal.
Begin by getting clear about what you want to achieve and why it’s meaningful to you. If you tie your goal to a bigger purpose or value, then this can help you stay on track, especially during times of stress. If your goal is to lose weight and your motivation is to improve your overall health, your chances for success are much higher than if you’re motivated by something that is short-term, like fitting into your favorite summer outfit.
Make a plan.
Write down your plan of action and refer to it often. Be specific and define what you will do and when you will do it. Start small by taking your goal and breaking it down into smaller and easily achievable steps. This allows for you to experience success early on, which can help you stay motivated as you take bigger steps. If your goal is to exercise 30 minutes a day, start with 10 minutes a day, and then gradually work your way up to 30. Keep in mind that change takes time.
Identify your obstacles and have a plan in place to deal with them.
Obstacles present challenges, yet if you prepare for them in advance, you’ll already have your solution when you need it. If your goal is to cut back on sugar and you like to eat something sweet after dinner, be prepared by having fruit in the house that you enjoy. Equally important is making sure that you don’t keep that sweet treat in the pantry. We’ve all heard this advice before, but it’s worth repeating – it’s never a good idea to grocery shop when you’re hungry!
Track your progress.
Keep a daily or weekly record of your progress. This allows you to see your success and it also helps you to establish where you might need to make changes if you are falling behind. If you’re too tired after a long day to exercise in the evenings, consider switching to the mornings or during your lunch break, or even dividing it up. It’s important to be consistent, but it’s also important to be flexible.
Seek out a friend or colleague who is interested in making a similar change or who is already committed to a similar goal. This not only provides support, but accountability as well. If you have plans with a friend to go for a walk, you’re more likely to follow through with the plans when someone else is relying on you. Plus, it’s more fun with a friend!
We all experience bumps in the road and the key is to learn from our mistakes and setbacks. If you have a bad day or week or more, try not to get too frustrated and allow yourself to begin your journey again. Most importantly, keep taking action and keep moving forward. Even the smallest steps in the right direction can lead to profound changes.
By utilizing these six strategies, they can help keep you motivated and bring you closer toward achieving your goals and living the life that you envision. So why wait to begin? Today is a great day to get started on making healthy lifestyle changes you’ve been thinking about!