It is very common to set health goals that are beyond realistic and way out of our reach.
We do it all the time. You know it.
We decide to completely drop all carbohydrates.
We decide to juice fast for 21 days.
We’ve fallen for the latest online craze and decide to try the 3 month green cleanse.
Maybe it’s a lemon water fast for 8 days, or 20kms/day marathon training, or an omission of any and all sugars for life.
We set out to drop 20lbs in 4 weeks.
And then we fail.
And feel awful.
And are afraid to try again.
So, why not attack your health goals from a different angle?
The #1 Rule: Work Where You Are Right Now
Here’s what I like to tell the people who struggle with permanent, sustainable change in diet and lifestyle (so pretty much everyone): start the work from where you are right now. What that looks like is to take your current dietary or lifestyle habits and tweak them only slightly to get you one small step closer to where you would like to be. For example, if you eat out 4x per week, drink 3 large coffees per day, never work out, and only consume about ½ litre of water per day, your goals may go like this: For 1 week, aim to eat out 3x per week, drink 3 small cups of coffee per day, walk once or twice a week for 10 minutes, and increase water consumption to ¾ a litre per day (or simply pick one). Start where you are and increase in small, attainable increments. Success is WAY more likely and there will continually be room to improve.
The #2 Rule: Celebrate Every Small Success
Failure is hard to handle, let’s face it. If time and time again, you set out to reach an unattainable goal and fail, the motivation to try again dwindles. Setting smaller goals enables more likelihood for success and every time a smaller goal is met, you have my permission to celebrate. Wait a minute here, this does not mean it’s time to jump off the wagon and stuff your face with cookie dough ice cream (come on now!), but rather, a little celebration or acknowledgment: a pat on the back, a smiley face on your fridge, a night out, a tea date with a friend, you get the idea.
The #3 Rule: Keep Track
It’s easy to fall prey to the negative thought patterns in our heads that tell us we aren’t doing enough, trying hard enough, or succeeding enough. It’s way too easy to say that we just aren’t good at adhering to dietary/lifestyle changes.
Here’s the thing: keeping track and writing it all down, gives us proof that we are trying. It is also a great way to recognize patterns, areas that need to be explored, and underlying issues that we weren’t able see before.
Try this: find a new journal-style book just for health related notes. Use this book only for recording food and body related challenges and goal setting. Write in it regularly and diligently. When, and if, you fall away from the habit of writing, just come back to it and start again wherever you are. Regularly review old entries, reflecting and adjusting new goals accordingly.
Lastly: You Got This!
If you want to improve your health enough to be reading this blog, then that’s all the motivation you need!
Right where you are.
Write it down.
And feel good every single day!