January is half-way over already, which means that many people are already reevaluating the health goals they made for the new year. Maybe they’re realizing that their gym membership is still sitting untouched, or the salad they bought with great intentions two weeks ago is going bad in the back of the fridge.
So what can you do to actually meet your health goals this year? Here are 4 tips to help you on your journey to health.
1. Reflect on your “why”
Finding your “why” is an idea that’s gained significant traction over the last few years, helping people to reflect more deeply about what they really want and how motivated they are to get it. (Simon Sinek wrote a great book about this in 2011. Check it out!) When thinking about your health goals, your first step is figuring out your “why”. Why do you eat the way you do right now? Why do you want to be healthier? Is it because you want to lose weight? Do you want to be active for your children? Do you feel terrible and just want to feel better? Everyone operates from a different place with different life experiences and motivations. Figure out what you really want and why you really want it so that you can make a plan on how to get there.
2. Identify your roadblocks
Now that you know what you want and why you want it, it’s time to start figuring out what’s preventing you from getting it. Do you have emotional ties to food that prevent you from changing what you eat? What life circumstances are you in the middle of (job loss, grief, working multiple jobs, medical conditions, mental health concerns…etc) that are making things more difficult? Are you getting enough sleep? Find out what roadblocks you have and work to improve them first. Oftentimes it’s not the healthy choices themselves that are particularly hard, it’s the other additional factors that create complications.
3. Change your thinking
In our childbirth classes we teach our students that birth is 90% mental and only 10% what happens to you. Your health goals are much the same. First things first is acceptance. It’s important to accept where you’re at right this very moment and then have compassion for yourself. We are our own worst critics, so start by changing how your view yourself. Give yourself grace and acknowledge that you can’t always do it all. You don’t have to be perfect, and you don’t need to wait till Monday (or January) to work on your health goals. Eating terribly for a couple days doesn’t mean you have to start the race all over again. Just keep moving forward and veer back on course! Focus on the things you can eat instead of worrying about what you can’t. Mindset is a huge part of this journey, and if you have roadblocks preventing you from getting in the right mindset, it’s time to get to work on tearing them down.
4. Be consistent
Finally, be consistent. Health is not seasonal. There’s not a finish line we get to cross that marks our passage from “unhealthy” to “healthy”. It is a way of being rather than something we achieve. In order to make healthy living sustainable, it requires being intentional, present, and rather than sprinting to the finish line, we’re making small changes over time. Dieting is a not a long-term solution! Start small. Choose one thing to work on, and once you’ve mastered it, add in something new. Maybe your first goal will be to start drinking enough water every day, and once you’ve mastered that, you’ll choose to focus on getting more servings of vegetables. Whatever it is, start small and be consistent, regardless of holidays, special events, or life changes.
Set yourself up for success! Reflect on your “why”, identify your roadblocks, change your thinking, and be consistent. You’ve got this!
(Taken from the Birth Boot Camp podcast, episode 32. Listen to it here!)