Anyone can make a healthy lifestyle change for life. However, most people only do it when they are forced to – medical reasons such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and even special moments such as a wedding, class reunion, or a vacation will influence the need to exercise and adjust to a healthier diet. In these instances, goals are set for that moment in life, not for the rest of your life, causing results to be short-lived.
I’ve trained hundreds of clients and found that 70 percent of my clients wanted a moment in life change. Those clients who demonstrated sustainable healthy living were those that followed my 11 healthy lifestyle principles consistently even when they were training on their own. Whether it’s Zumba, P90-X, Insanity or simply walking in a park, we all should engage in a daily exercise routine to promote a healthy lifestyle change. Remember, “it’s not what you do; it’s that you do SOMETHING.”
The following 11 principles will help you adopt a healthy lifestyle versus a temporary change.
1. Know your health truth.
Build a sustainable, interactive relationship with your doctor. Understand where you are mentally, physically and emotionally. Understand your family’s medical history and ask questions to help prevent controllable health issues. Commit to routine visits to your physician(s) and take their feedback seriously. Let your health physician know your values, beliefs, fears and concerns regarding any condition or treatment decisions.
2. Understand your WHYs – why you haven’t changed, why you need to make a change.
Change comes with a reason, so when deciding to make a healthy lifestyle change you should ask questions that can influence and help you remain committed to the change. Some common “Why” questions include:
- Why do I neglect my health?
- Why don’t I put myself first?
- Why don’t I exercise regularly?
Understanding the answers to these questions can help you overcome those hurdles that limit you from achieving healthy goals. This also helps you plan in advance for adversity. For example, if you are an emotional eater, then one way to overcome this hurdle is to keep healthy food on hand.
3. Set goals!
Set 4 types of goals: immediate, short, long, and backup goals. Make sure they are realistic!
- Immediate Goal(s): Walk, jog or run a hill you never did before today.
- Short-term Goal(s): Add one more repetition, step, lap or mile each week to your existing immediate goals.
- Long-term Goal(s): Walk 2 miles a day for the rest of your life (in 3 years you will have walked the equivalent of across the country!)
- Backup Goal(s): Walk indoors at the mall when it’s raining outside to stay on track.
Consider the SMART Goals goal-setting model:
S – Specific
A – Achievable
R – Realistic
T – Timely
4. Visualize how you want to look and feel!
Visualization is important because if you can see it then you can achieve it! For example, women admire our First Lady Michelle Obama because of her passion and commitment to living a healthier life. As a role model for many, women often visualize themselves as having