In this post read top tips on how to lead a healthier lifestyle and whether or not making these changes have a positive impact on your wellbeing.
How to Implement a Healthy Lifestyle that Benefits You.
When you’re not making good lifestyle choices, you can tell. Your body is good at letting you know when it is not happy with your health choices.
For example, you may feel fatigued, you get sick easier, or your digestive system is acting up when you eat. Mentally, you could feel anxious, depressed, or overwhelmed. However, it doesn’t have to be this way.
The good news is that you can feel better by taking small steps to live a healthier lifestyle. We’re not talking about those gimmicky 30-day promises either.
Instead, we want you to focus on making small, easy changes to your lifestyle in a way that doesn’t make you feel overwhelmed or stressed out.
Once you make one change and see positive results, it can motivate you to take another step until you have completely changed your lifestyle and feel great. It all starts by looking at the tips and recommendations below.
Defining SMART Goals
The first thing you want to do when trying to get a healthier lifestyle is to start small. SMART goals stand for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound goals. So, instead of setting a huge goal of losing, say, 50 pounds, set a smaller SMART goal of losing 10 pounds. Once you get here, set another goal to lose another 10 pounds. Each small win can motivate you to move to the next one until you reach your ultimate goal.
SMART goals can also make your journey to a healthy lifestyle appear less overwhelming. You’re more likely to keep going when you meet your small goals rather than getting discouraged and stopping when you don’t immediately reach your big goal. You can start this process by:
1. Focusing on One or Two Changes at a Time
Changing your behaviour and set thinking patterns takes patience, energy, and time. It’s difficult to change something that’s been normal for years, no matter how small it is. This is exactly why you should focus on one or two things at a time and take small steps.
You can start by making a list of your goals and prioritising them. Which goal is more important to achieve right away? Maybe you want to run a half marathon, lose weight, and learn to cook. This is fantastic, but trying to do everything at once will be too drastic. So, pick one or two goals and work on them. As you complete them, move on down the list.
2. Getting a Support System
Having a support system in place as you work on your goals and lifestyle changes is huge. Having someone support your goals will increase your resilience and commitment when you hit a rough patch. For example, does your family want to eat healthier? Maybe you have an in-person or online workout buddy to help hold you accountable and ensure you go to your gym sessions.
As you work towards your goals, you have to realise that not everything will go exactly as planned — and this is OK. Your support system will be there to help you move through setbacks and slip-ups and be ready to celebrate with you as you hit your goals.
3. Breaking Your Long-Term Goals into Smaller, Short-Term Goals
You want to break any long-term goals you have up into more manageable short-term ones. Short-term goals should be easily achievable in a few days or weeks. Your short-term goals will let you see and celebrate your small wins and progress, and this has the domino effect of motivating you to keep moving forward. Instead of saying you want to lose 30 pounds, say you want to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week.
All of your short-term goals should be SMART goals. So, instead of saying something vague like you will eat more fruits and vegetables each week, you can say that you will add one serving of vegetables to your meals each day for the next week. This will give you a clearer picture of what you need to do to achieve your goals, and you can celebrate at the end of the week if you actually do it.
4. Eating Whole Grains Over Refined Grains
Did you know that swapping out refined grains for whole grains can benefit your health? Research shows that adding more whole grains to your diet can reduce your risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and certain types of cancer. Refined grains include crackers, pretzels, chips, white rice, white pasta and bread, and almost all breakfast cereals.
Whole grains include faro, quinoa, plain oats, brown or wild rice, whole-grain pasta and bread, buckwheat, barley, millet, spelt, and bulgur wheat. Now, you don’t have to immediately toss all of your refined grains. Instead, start by replacing one refined grain with a whole grain each day. For example, swap out your white breakfast toast with wheat or add wild rice to your dinner dish instead of white rice.
5. Control and Lower Your Stress Levels
If you’re someone who suffers from chronic stress, your body is constantly in fight-or-flight mode. This puts pressure on your immune system and makes you more vulnerable to health issues. People with high stress levels are more prone to have diabetes, heart disease, depression, digestive problems, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, and high blood pressure readings.
Getting active and exercising can help reduce your stress levels by getting rid of any pent-up energy you have. Exercise can also make your body release endorphins — mood-enhancing hormones. Journaling, deep breathing, meditation, or spending time in nature on a short walk can help with stress too. Therapy is an option if you want support dealing with your stress levels as well.
Bottom Line – Can Lifestyle Changes Benefit You In The Long Run?
In a nutshell, yes. While many people struggle to maintain a healthy lifestyle, it is certainly very beneficial to keep active. Having the right attitude and passion can help lead a healthier lifestyle.
Implementing a healthy lifestyle should start with small steps using SMART goals to keep you motivated and moving through your goals. It’s beneficial for your health to live a healthier lifestyle, and the five tips we outlined give you a solid foundation to start making changes in your own life today.