Making positive, permanent change isn’t a matter of willpower. It’s a skill. You can learn how to do it with these 9 steps. You can do it!
1. Make a list of your goals.
Start generally with things like “be active” and “eat healthy.” Expand the list with specific goals like “eat broccoli 5 times a week” or “walk 30 minutes on Monday, swim 20 laps on Tuesday, bicycle 2 miles on Wednesday…” Keep the list handy and add to it as you come up with more healthy goals. We recommend people keep a list on their refrigerator at home and a copy on their desk at work.
2. Make a plan and let people know about it.
Communication is important to ensuring support, acceptance, and compliance with the changes. Keep a schedule with planned exercise and meals. Make sure you and every member of your family are aware of what will be happening and when it will happen, then keep the schedule where everyone can see it easily.
3. Plan meals and make a shopping list.
Keep to the list and avoid impulse buying.
4. Make changes when necessary.
Be flexible and willing to change, and always keep in mind your goals to be active and maintain a healthy diet.
5. Work with a friend.
It is easier to keep up an exercise schedule and meal plan when you are working with a friend and are accountable to someone else.
6. For the first week or two of a new routine, just get up and do it.
You may be sore, you may be tired, the weather might be bad, and you may not even like a new activity when you start out. It usually takes some time to get into a new program. But over time, you will find that things get easier and that you enjoy your new lifestyle.
7. Turn off the television.
Not forever, but just decide to watch less. Check out your favorite shows as a treat. Don’t instinctively turn it on when you walk in the room. You won’t burn calories watching TV.
8. Talk with co–workers about the changes you are making.
Most people are in the same boat, so you might find allies who will help keep you active and healthy. Be vocal about healthy changes you are making and ask others if they have ideas that have worked for them.
9. Draw on those support systems.
Friends, family, and neighbors, can help you sustain a healthy lifestyle during tough times. If you’re so inclined, a little spirituality will also help keep you on track.