Living a healthier lifestyle and better managing weight have many benefits you may be unaware of.
I’ve found that as individuals get healthier, many also start feeling motivated to try new things.
I especially enjoy seeing my patients having new confidence as they set and attain new goals previously thought unachievable:
- One patient ran a 5K for the first time.
- Another planned a group vacation, where for the first time she was able to keep up with the quicker touring pace.
- Still another enrolled in a dance class, feeling more comfortable moving her body.
If you like the idea of stepping outside your comfort zone and trying new things as you work on improving the healthfulness of your lifestyle, here are some tips to guide you:
Pushing yourself too fast or too hard can be a setup for disappointment or even injury.
If you’re someone who struggles to do any type of exercise, set a goal you feel would be achievable and enjoyable.
One example may be to take your dog to a park so you can both walk, be in the moment, and enjoy nature together.
Or get yourself a pair of earbuds so you can walk outside while listening to a favorite podcast or music playlist.
The key here is to find ways to make new activities enjoyable.
Wearing comfortable clothes, a pair of supportive gym shoes and having a water bottle can help make walking an activity you want to do regularly.
2-Make Stretch Goals
Progressing your healthy lifestyle program is the name of the game when it comes to optimizing your health.
Stretch Goals can help you do this.
A ‘stretch’ goal is one in which you set the goal a bit higher than you normally would, yet still make the goal realistic and within reach.
People perform better when their goals are specific and set high but still realistic.
Although you may not reach your ambitious health goal all the time, you are likely to end up achieving more than if you set a less challenging goal.
Set aside some time to think about and list some stretch goals; here are some examples:
- “I will sign up for a pickleball class which is something I’ve always wanted to try.”
- “I will make appointment with a personal fitness trainer to get a resistance training program I can safely do at home.”
- “I will use healthy recipe sites listed in Six Factors to Fit: Weight Loss that Works for You! to identify 2 tasty meatless meals to make each week.”
3-Reward Goal Attainment
An inherent part of any behavior change plan where you’re trying to get healthier is to identify a self-reward.
Rewards are an acknowledgment of your accomplishments and the time and effort you put in, and a motivator to keep going.
In weight management, rewards may have personal meaning, such as getting into clothes that were previously too tight, walking up a flight of stairs with less shortness of breath, having more energy or less knee pain.
Self-reflective rewards such as having more confidence can go a long way to helping you stay motivated.
As you set new goals along your weight-loss journey, continue to reward yourself each time that you reach a milestone.
Robert Kushner, MD