If you find it hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you aren’t alone! In fact, more than 2 out of 3 American adults are considered overweight or obese. But here’s the kicker: most people already know how to live a fairly healthy lifestyle. We know that a meal of chicken, rice, and broccoli is better than Chicago style deep dish pizza. We know that hitting the gym is better than sitting on the couch watching TV all day.
So if we already have a good idea of what it takes to be healthy, why are so many of us unhealthy?
Put simply, it’s a lack of motivation. The old saying of “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink” fits well here. You could have a whole team of nutritionists and personal trainers at your beck and call, but if you do not follow the advice, it’s worthless to you! You need to have the right mindset to apply the advice. This article will show you 3 ways how.
Beware of an all or nothing approach
Go big or go home, baby! When people make the choice to live a healthier lifestyle, they often go to the extremes. They do a complete 180 and cut out everything bad from their diet and follow a rigorous workout regimen. At first, they feel great. They are full of energy and can feel themselves becoming healthier! But soon, they find that it’s harder and harder to stick to their diet. And they find that they begin to skip more and more workout sessions. Eventually, they deviate enough from their original plan that they just give up in desperation and go back to their unhealthy ways.
So what’s the solution? Change your mindset to one of a marathon rather than a sprint. Your health is not a competition and it’s not a race. If you look at at as a sprint, you will get burnt out and end up back where you started. But if you focus on making small changes, they will be more likely to stick with you. If you cave in and eat some cake and ice cream once in awhile, don’t get frustrated and give up. Just get back on course and keep on chugging slowly along.
Set Small, Reasonable Goals
If you think you can change your health with the snap of your fingers, think again. Getting healthier and losing weight can often be a slow process so don’t fall for sensationalist headlines that promise extreme results in mere days or weeks.
In the real world, you get things done by setting small, reasonable goals. Remember, a journey of 10,000 miles begins with a single step. If you look at it as a 10,000 mile journey, it will seem like an insurmountable task and soon you will give up. If, however, you break that 10,000 miles into smaller chunks, it doesn’t seem so daunting. It’s the same with your health. Set small goals for yourself that you can meet and keep moving forward past them.
Recognize Other Pleasures
So many people follow unhealthy habits because...well… it feels good and it’s easy! It feels good to sit on the couch all day snacking on potato chips. It feels good to drink sugary drinks at every meal. It feels good to skip the workout and watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones.
But these pleasures are all, short term, temporary pleasures. When you learn to recognize the pleasures that come from living a healthy lifestyle, you don’t want to go back! Just remind yourself that following a healthy lifestyle will allow you to experience other pleasures:
Imagine looking in the mirror everyday and being proud of your healthy, athletic, body. I guarantee this will give you more overall satisfaction than the short term mouth pleasure of junk food.
Or, imagine how well your body will function. Your digestion will be smooth. Your immune system will be great. You will move with ease. All in all, you will feel like a well oiled machine. As long as you realize that the pleasure of good health vastly outweighs the temporary pleasure of being unhealthy, it’s far easier to stay motivated and stay on track.