For a lot of people, the beginning of February means coming to terms with failed New Year’s resolutions. I think you’d agree that change doesn’t happen overnight. We can’t exercise twice a month, then take up Zumba, weightlifting and running come the New Year.
If you’ve switched up your sugary cereal for a wholesome delicious breakfast, congrats! You’re on the right track!
But if you’ve attempted to replace your morning Peppermint Mocha Latte (that contains a whopping 65 grams of sugar) with a green vegetable smoothie that you can barely get down, are you really surprised that you’re back to sipping lattes?
Change takes time.
And, if you really want to create a new healthy routine and get your taste buds embracing new flavours, patience is key.
Some of the greatest motivational gurus of all time remind us that we cannot change daily habits overnight. If our habits take years to build, they will take more than a few days to replace.
Quite frankly, it is consistent small steps that will lead to transformation.
Over the past decade, I’ve helped my patients set goals, I’ve supported them through their challenges, and I’ve been there to celebrate their achievements. Let’s just say, I know a little bit about helping people create long-lasting, maintainable lifestyle changes.
So if you are excited about a new approach, I’ve gathered up my best tips that have helped thousands of my patients succeed.
Whether you are setting goals in January or August, these strategies are effective, practical, and easy-to-implement.
Let’s dive in.
5 Tips for a Long-Lasting and Maintainable Healthy Lifestyle
#1 – Stop Removing, Start Adding
One of the prime mistakes we make in trying to lead a healthier lifestyle is ‘take away.’ Perhaps you can relate. Ever catch yourself saying, “I gave up coffee, I cut out carbs, I stopped eating desserts!” Now I know we’re all trying to be healthier, but can you see how this sets us up for failure right from the beginning?
Rather than eliminating all the things you once loved…
Try keeping them in and simply adding more of the good stuff…
More herbal teas, more root vegetables, and more fruit is a better way to slowly and gently bring about change. Over time, you may even notice your taste buds craving the nutritiously-dense foods.
This non-limiting attitude changes everything!
#2 – Keep Doing What You’re Doing
There’s no need to stop socializing or attending family dinners. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this … “I haven’t seen my friends in months because I don’t want to be tempted.” Imagine being “uber healthy” but not being able to go out and enjoy a nice dinner?
Just because you’re trying to be healthier, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go out and have a good time.
One day you may be digging in at an all-you-can-eat buffet, and the next day, you may be cooking up an organic storm in your kitchen.
When we are making changes to our diet and lifestyle, we need to weave it in with our current lifestyle. By looking at ‘healthy living’ as a separate ‘way of living’, we are sadly creating a dividing barrier in our day-to-day lives.
#3 – Don’t Be Hard On Yourself
I can’t say this enough. Being kind is truly one of the best things you can do – for your well-being, your happiness, and your health.
If you eat a brownie (and it’s not part of your ‘healthy lifestyle’ plan), don’t give up and throw in the towel! Even if you eat the whole tray, don’t sweat it! Leading a healthier lifestyle is a journey and it’s not always going to be perfect.
Persistence is far more important than perfection – so get back on track and strive for progress, not perfection. Say buh-bye to the all-or-nothing approach because it’s not doing you any good.
Remember to always be gentle with yourself. You’re Doing The Best You Can (Pssst: I suggest writing this down on a sticky note and reading it every single day)!
#4 – If It Doesn’t Make You Happy, Try Something Else
Unless you’re stranded on a desert island, you’ve got choices. Lots of them! As you embark on a healthier journey this year, choose what makes you happy.
If you don’t like working out at the gym, you can dance to your favourite jams at home.
Finally, listen to your body. If you’re craving a warm porridge over a cold green juice, there may be an underlying reason why. Rather than force yourself to chug a green juice, why not dig deeper into those mysterious food cravings? Your body may be trying to communicate with you and it’s best not to ignore the messages.
#5 – Celebrate Your Baby Steps
Sounds like a no brainer, right?
But all too often, we forget to pause and celebrate how far we’ve come.
Though your progress may be slower than you’d like, every now and then, pinch yourself, and be grateful for the journey – all of the successes, the challenges, and even the let-downs have brought you one step closer to your goals.