Spring is a time for change and renewal. Trees and flowers are arising out of winter dormancy. It makes sense that this is the time of year when many people try to make healthy lifestyle changes. The weather is getting nice, there is an urge to get out and enjoy the sunshine, and eat fresh colorful vegetables.
Healthy lifestyle changes take commitment and willpower. It is easy to get excited about the green leaves and sunshine outside of an office window. It is another thing to actually go for a walk or a jog everyday the way you intend to. It is very easy in our modern age to get distracted and procrastinate and never actually develop the habit of lifestyle change.
The first step is easy, that desire to make positive changes in life. It is easy to get excited about the concept of “this summer I am going to do ________ every day/week”. Getting that desire turned into action on a consistent basis is hard. A lot of people rely on just personal willpower alone to implement the changes. This strategy is likely to fail, since if you really had the innate willpower to live a healthier lifestyle you would have already implemented that before this spring weather reminded you to do it. The better answer is to find ways of making sure you stick to your health goals with as little willpower involved as possible. Try to find a way that works for you and your goals where your new healthy lifestyle change is an automatic and it is difficult not to do it. Some simple strategies are;
— Buy a gym membership. A monetary incentive can help, but it is also important to lock in a “gym time” into your schedule, and make sure you have reminders of how much it costs you to skip a “gym time”.
— Have a scheduled workout time with a friend. Peer pressure and individual support can help you stick to your new lifestyle.
— Take a class. Classes can also create a bit of peer pressure. The regular nature of a class and the financial incentive can help a person stick to their goals. Taking a class that is fun is also more motivating than just “working out” in the gym.
— Challenge yourself with a goal. For many people this can mean signing up for a fun run, triathlon or other event that requires that you train to get ready. Setting even a non competitive goal like swimming the equivalent of the distance across the English channel over the course of the summer, or doing a particular activity every day for a month. Those goals can be motivating.
— Join a fitness group. There are many fitness groups that are formed around particular activities. These can be found on internet group sites like meetup.com or at the local gym or fitness equipment retailer. Biking and running groups are common.
—Find a way to keep “junk food” out of the house. That can be sticking to only what is on a shopping list, or shopping with someone who will remind you to buy healthy.
The real goal is to make a healthy lifestyle fun and easy to maintain. If going to the gym every week feels like a drag worse than work, then it is not helping in the goal to make life better. Some people really like to go to the gym and eat healthy food. If you are not one of those types of people then it is necessary to find ways to make a healthy lifestyle fun and self motivating to you.