In a user story I recently wrote, the player said, “Making a lifestyle change is easy what is difficult is the commitment to follow through with determination”.
Rightly so, it’s indeed considered a tall order and hence many give it up mid-way. Most consider it forced, rather than a positive change to bring about within themselves.
This very attitude and constant cribbing of people around me prompted me to write this piece on why is it so difficult to make a lifestyle change?
Many of us have tried it sometime or the other in our life. Some of us have succeeded while many have found it extremely taxing. Making a lifestyle change is challenging, especially when you want to transform many things at once. Lifestyle changes are a process that takes time and requires support and lots of patience.
Here are a few tips that you could follow from my personal experience
** Start small. After you’ve identified a realistic short-term and long-term goals, break them down further into small steps that are well defined and can be managed and measured. If your long term goal (6-8 months) is to lose 20 kilos then a good monthly goal would be to reduce about 2 kilos a month in a healthy way. Physiologically smaller goals give you sense that it’s achievable and keep you motivated for the long term goal. Look at healthy eating options, eat smaller meals at regular intervals and balanced meals, and replace a dessert with a healthier option, like yoghurt. At the end of the month, you’ll feel successful knowing you met your goal.
** Change one behaviour at a time. It is said that old habits die hard. That is because behaviours develop over the course of time and replacing then will take a while. Focus on one goal at a time. If need be, get professional help to understand what changes you need to bring about within yourself to become healthy and fit. The problem arises when you try to change things really fast.
** Have a buddy or a personal coach or trainer: It can be anyone from a friend, to a family member, a co-worker or your personal trainer who you want to walk with on your path to a healthy lifestyle. It works well for both the buddies. Your buddy and you can go for a walk, cycle or run together and keep each other motivated and charged. You can challenge each other to create some excitement in your training and make sure that it is not boring. Having someone with whom you can share your struggles and successes makes the work easier and the mission less intimidating.
** Make a plan that you will stick to. You have to plan in such a way that it will be your guide on this journey of change. Think out of the box and have things in your plan which you have never done before like an adventure or going for sports climbing (artificial wall climbing). But, don’t go haywire and be specific. Time manage well. Detail the time of day when you want to exercise, how long you want to exercise or when you can take walks and how long you’ll walk. Maintain a diary in which all of this task are jotted down and ask yourself if these activities and goals are realistic for you. If not then start with baby steps.
** Have support around you: Having people around you to support you while you are on your journey towards health will help you to not slack. Don’t feel shy to ask for support wherever and whenever needed if you feel you are unable to meet your goals on your own.
Making the changes that you want takes time and commitment, but you can do it. Just remember that no one is perfect. You will have occasional lapses. Be kind to yourself. When you eat a brownie or skip the gym, don’t give up. Minor bumps on the road to your goals are normal and okay. Resolve to recover and get back on track.
** Self -Motivation: All the above points will help you in your journey to change your lifestyle but, the biggest factor of all and one of the most important factor is being self-motivated. No matter how many buddies you have, no matter what support your dear and near ones will give, no matter how good a plan you make yourself …but none of this will be effective till the time you are self-motivated and want to make the change.
Do it for yourself, do it on your own and feel good at the end of it all. Remember it is not about proving to anyone but yourself.