When it comes to our health, we all know what we should and should not be doing. Taking the first step toward a healthy lifestyle can be extremely difficult. I know because it took me many years before I decided to take it. First off, being healthy is not about losing weight or being thin; it’s far more than that. The mental effect of getting your body in shape far outweighs the physical. You hear it all the time. People who exercise have more energy, less stress, and are far more positive and happy overall. You know what.. It’s all true!
STEP 1: DECIDE
It all starts with a DECISION. You have to look deep inside yourself and DECIDE who do you want to be. That was extremely difficult for me as I discovered that fear was actually one of the things holding me back. Why Fear? Because I was stuck in my comfort zone and changing meant I had to break out of it and journey into the unknown. That meant new schedules, eating habits, and the GYM, a place I had never been. To me exercise was hard and didn’t come naturally, I hated it. Or so I thought.
Last September, I took a look at myself and realized I was going in the wrong direction (on the scale). I was tipping the scales some 30lbs more than where I felt comfortable. One day, I just DECIDED to make a change. It was not easy! The reason I am emphasizing the word “DECIDE”, is because it means that you have made up your mind, that you are going to do something and there is no going back. If you enter into this with the idea of “well I’ll give it a try” or “let’s see what happens” you will more than likely end up right back where you started. So, it is that simple. Sometime when you are alone and can do some deep thinking, ask yourself… “Who do I want to be?” and then make the DECISION to do it.
STEP 2: SET GOALS
Now that you have made the decision to change your life, it’s time to set some goals. This is an incredibly important step in this process. Your initial goals need to be attainable. Do not attempt to accomplish this overnight. This is a journey. One that will continually evolve as you reach each milestone. Your initial goals should be very realistic and somewhat easy at first. Think baby steps. Here’s what I mean.
If your goal is to start eating healthier, than don’t just stop your normal routine cold turkey. Start by changing just one thing. Like removing the extra dressing or cheese or other unnecessary calories from your meals. You will find that it didn’t really effect the meal and you will feel better about your choices. As time goes on make another change. Maybe this time it’s slightly bigger, for example have the burger without the bun. These changes will inevitably lead you to more and better choices with your diet.
If your goal is exercise related again start small and slow. I remember the 1st few days, 10min of cardio nearly sent me into cardiac arrest! I started with 10min a day than went to 15min as I got more conditioned then on to 30 min and so on. This method does work and it supports our need to feel like we have accomplished something. Results will come as long as you don’t give up.
STEP 3: STAY MOTIVATED
One thing that really helped me stay focused was continually surrounding myself with motivational material. During this process, I learned that I love to listen to great motivational stories, speeches and music. I would spend time looking up motivational videos on YOUTUBE and then play them back during my workouts. There are tons of them available and they really work. That is probably why the good ones have millions of views! I have lots of favorites that I listen to week after week and they never get old. Bottom line is, whatever it takes, you have to figure out what motivates you and keep it coming.
There you have it. Three simple steps to becoming the “best version of yourself”.
About the author: Mike Eilertson is a Construction Project Manager for Camden.