THINK-ing about Lifestyle Change in 2019 …
By: Carrie Company, MSEd, NBC-HWC
Lifestyle change is hard! Each new year, we spend time, thought, precious energy and millions of dollars trying to change our lifestyles so we can live longer, fitter, healthier lives. We want so badly to think that simple fixes exist. We all look for easy ways to lose weight, control blood pressure, reduce stress, sleep better, live healthier. But we fail to appreciate how HARD change is to make. The quote, “if it were easy everyone would be doing it” comes to mind. The reality is, change is NOT easy. Most people are NOT doing it. Change is hard. But … CHANGE IS POSSIBLE!
Change starts with YOU! Your thoughts, your actions, your motivation, your ability to practice day in and day out, your vision and your choices will all determine your outcome!
The biggest factor in change is … YOU!
After years of coaching, helping, encouraging and supporting, here are some of my thoughts on helping you create and (most importantly) sustain lifestyle change in 2019:
T – Tune in to YOUR motivation and identify YOUR honest, deep down, readiness to change.
H – Honor (yes honor!) your vision and SMART goals.
I – Initiate positive thinking, identify your unique strengths and USE them all of the time.
N – No sabotaging thoughts. You must identify and confront your sabotaging thoughts.
K – Keep your records and journals!
You absolutely must identify your personal readiness to change. If you are not ready to make some serious changes, do NOT start. If you decide you are ready, tune in and consider why you want to change. Do you have the ability to make the change? How will your change effect those around you? Think specifically about what is motivating you to change. Create a mantra to help during difficult times like “My strength will prevail”, “Now is MY time”, or “Stay strong for ME”.
Set goals that are specific, measurable, action-orientated, realistic and time bound. Then visualize, (really visualize) the change you will make AND what accomplishing your goal will feel like. In your visualization include as many senses as possible (this takes practice). Sight, smell, touch, what you will hear, and feel should all be a part of your visualizations. Practice strengthening your visualizations often. Jackie Joyner-Kersee taught me to close my eyes and invest everything (my heart) into visualizing success. “Show your mind how to execute what you want”, she would say.
We all use our unique strengths to get through the day and face difficult times. Take time to identify your strengths. Courage, optimism, wisdom, kindness, self-regulation are just a few strengths. Then practice gratitude for the small steps you take to accomplish your goals. I have watched some use humor to offset “black and white thinking” incredibly effectively. Instead of saying “I am done, I cannot do this” it becomes “so today the cake won but tomorrow I will prevail!”
Stop sabotaging your success! Identify those sabotaging thoughts you tell yourself that derail your success. AND then counter them … in WRITING for quick reference and motivation. For example, “It has been a hard day, I have earned this.” Oh NO! Instead write, “bad days will come and go, I am going to stay on track with my goals. Eating poorly or drinking will not solve my problems!” Place these notes in places where you can use them to stay focused in difficult times.
Finally, keep records that are important to you! IF you are not focused on weight loss based on the number on the scale, do not keep a weight log. If, however, wanting to jog 30 minutes each day motivates you, keep records on how many minutes you are able to accomplish each day! Record keeping should motivate you and help you stay focused! Record keeping is your tool for motivation, mindfulness, seeing success and staying accountable to yourself.
Every little win you make matters when it comes to your health! Best wishes for your health in 2019!