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.” We recommend keeping your list on your phone and where you can see it – like your refrigerator or desk – and add to it as you come up with more healthy goals.
2. Make a plan and let people know about it.
Communication is important to ensuring support, acceptance, and compliance with your 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. Keep the schedule where everyone can easily see it.
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. But always keep in mind your goals to be active and maintain a healthy diet.
5. For the first week or two of a new routine, just get up and do it.
When you start, you may be sore, you may be tired, the weather may be bad, and you may not even like a new activity. That’s ok. It usually takes some time to get into a new program. But you’ll find things get easier and you’ll enjoy your new lifestyle.
6. Work with a friend.
It’s easier to maintain an exercise schedule and meal plan when you’re working together with a friend or family member because you’re more accountable to each other.
7. Turn off the television.
Not forever, but just decide to watch less. You won’t burn calories watching TV! Don’t instinctively turn it on when you walk into the room but check out your favorite shows as a treat.
8. Talk with co–workers about the changes you’re making.
Most people are in the same boat so you might find allies who will help you keep active and healthy. Be vocal about the healthy changes you’re 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 can also help keep you on track.