By Reem Abdulrahman Jassim al-Muftah
I see a lot of people trying and starting to get healthy but then also see a lot of them struggling with maintaining their new, and usually sudden, lifestyle changes; so I keep asking myself why… For example, a colleague will tell me that they started a new diet, started working out and are hoping to reach their goals within a month. A friend will also tell me that they started eating better, having smaller portions, began gymming 6 times a week and can’t wait to see their new body. A family member will also explain to me how they started having more fruit and healthier snacks and started walking in the morning and can’t wait to feel and look better. Okay…so what are the red flags in all these statements? It seems people keep hoping to change overnight and to be strong enough to stick to lifestyle changes automatically. That’s good, don’t get me wrong, but they all stopped a week into their wellness journeys. I keep hearing a lot of high expectations from people, their challenging goals and how they start imagining the changes simply taking place and how easy it is to actually live a healthy lifestyle. Do you notice yourself or someone else yo-yo dieting or working out in phases like a few days in and then stopping again and always complaining that they aren’t seeing results? Due to the trend of health and wellness and how everyone wants to get on the wagon, I’m really worried that people just behave as if they maintain a healthy lifestyle but aren’t because they are ashamed of their struggles with the change. But the real problem here is that then they start getting sad, disappointed, angry or maybe even depressed because they aren’t see any changes or because they are surrounded by people who are on track or make it seem like they are not successful yet. Yes, the trend is positive, but we have to look at it with simple eyes and realise that it is a challenge, but still a realistic goal to achieve, but we shouldn’t get sucked into a world where we beat ourselves up because we aren’t meeting our own unrealistic expectations. We have to actually stop and be real with ourselves. In this case, what is the secret key to success? Well, I personally believe that the one of the most powerful keys and part of the criteria of living a healthy lifestyle is consistency. Isn’t it harder to get back on track all those times than staying on track in the first place? So can a person be consistent?
Be realistic, manage your expectations, have goals but be real with yourself.
Be open to change, you might have to remove somethings from your home, from your life or even people that are bad influences.
Monitor your progress, you don’t have to track yourself and put that kind of pressure on yourself, but take general notes on the changes you are making and noticing.
Be accountable with yourself. You are your own boss when it comes to your health, so if you aren’t following good habits you should hold yourself accountable.
Be real with yourself, be mindful, think of what you are doing with every decision you make and how it links to your goals.
Tips to reach consistency:
1- Think about what really motivates you and keep reminding yourself of it.
2- Make sure your goals are realistic and manageable according to your time and priorities.
3- Observe your food and water intake; eat and drink mindfully.
4- Have a smart game plan for when you are eating out or ordering in.
5- Keep water readily available.
6- Observe your sleep schedule.
7- Leave a mat near your bed to remind you to stretch.
8- Observe the total amount of time you are actually physically active each day.
9- Place your workout stuff near your room door as a reminder.
10- Monitor the time you are on your phone and have other distractions around, acknowledge those distractions.
11- Place healthy snacks around you and remove those that aren’t.
12- Keep fresh easily available.
13- Don’t spend too much time with those who don’t follow clean eating habits.
14- Put reminders in your phone calendar.
15- Have your partner, close friend or family call you out on your bad habits, such as not eating clean all day or skipping your workout for a few days in a row. If you aren’t comfortable, join a group or have a diary that keeps track of your habits and monitor yourself.
16- Don’t let travelling or holidays get your off track.
* The author is a wellness advocate and influencer @keys2balance.
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