Starting the New Year Off Strong: Simple Tips for Making Healthy Change
Updated: Mar 15, 2021
One of the questions that I often get asked as a health coach is 'what tips do you have for getting started on the path to making healthy change?'. I love this question because making sure that you are establishing a strong foundation when you are first embarking on a healthy lifestyle journey is so important if you want to transform habits and your health and wellbeing.
How many times have you been anxious, excited and fired up to make healthy changes like starting a new diet or fitness program? You jump in headfirst feeling gung-ho and maybe you start off strong but the excitement and will-power to stick to it slowly start to fade and you find yourself back where you began in a few weeks or months. If this has happened to you, first...know you are not alone. This is a normal experience for most people. And, it may have left you with some guilt for not sticking with a commitment and lowered confidence because you think that this just doesn't work for you so why try. This is because in order for habit changes to become just a natural part of your lifestyle, you must work on your mindset and belief system first.
This is where you must start.
Only when you are in the right 'place' to make lasting change will you see the hard work that you are putting forth start to stick. You will need to have some tools in place to actually start changing your mind and the rest will soon follow. It doesn't have to be difficult, but you do need to have a committed approach and focus which can be challenging at first, but over time once you have trained yourself to think in a different way, it will become easier.
Follow these tips when you are setting off on your transformational journey to make lasting, lifelong change:
(1) What is Your WHY?
This is a very important question to ask yourself and to be very clear on your answer in order to establish a focal point or guiding star. When you are doing something that has meaning and purpose to you, then you are more likely to have a deep desire to follow through with your commitments. This is your most important reason for making changes in your lifestyle and health.
Why do you want to feel better, make healthy choices, have more energy or feel more productive? What is your BIG reason for making changes to your health? What is the most important reason for you to stay on track with the health and wellness upgrades to change how you feel right now?
This is a big part of what motivates you and it is very important to keep your WHY at the forefront of your thoughts every day! If this means putting sticky notes with your WHY all over the place where you will be constantly reminded, do it! Write yourself reminders on your phone or your day planner if you have to.
This is your guiding star, your motivation, what gets you out of bed in the morning and doing ALL of the things so that you feel amazing. You, and you alone, are responsible for you, your choices and your future.
(2) Reverse Engineer Realistic Goals
It will do you absolutely no good to set goals for yourself that are idealistic but not realistic. If your goals are not attainable in a healthy way, then it is very unlikely that you will be able to see any progress and you will probably give up working towards them because it is too hard. This can leave you feeling like you have failed and with less motivation to start again. But, if you set yourself up for success before you even begin by giving yourself the space to work at a realistic pace towards your goals, you give yourself a simpler path towards actually succeeding.
Take some time to decide on where you would like to be, how you would like to feel and what you would like to be doing. It helps to make your goals measurable so that you have a starting point as well as being able to track and see your progress. For example, when I start working with a client before they begin their program, they fill out a worksheet to rate how they are currently feeling. This way, at the end of the program they can come back and rate all of the same categories to actually see the improvements they have made in different areas of their life.
Once you have a goal in mind, you will want to break it down into simple, manageable and actionable steps that you can work on every day. It helps to make yourself a checklist of the steps you will take and then check them off as you do them until they become habits. You want to keep it simple because if it's too difficult to maintain over a period of time, you will probably give up or find excuses not to take the steps.
(3) Remove the All or Nothing Mindset
One of the quickest ways to set yourself up for failure is to have an 'all or nothing' mindset. Maybe you are super excited to get started with your new nutrition plan or your new exercise routine and you don't miss a beat with it...until you do. Then what happens? Many times when ambitious goals are set and then just as quickly not met, they fall into the excuse category of 'I tried and it didn't work for me' or 'This is too hard for me' or 'I don't have the time'. You feel like you already messed up so why bother sticking with it. We all do this but it is how you deal with the setbacks that will determine your success. This is a lifelong process as you grow with anything new you are trying. Realize that it is okay to fall off the wagon and get off track, but now you must get up and start again with the same conviction that you set out with. This is where knowing your WHY comes in handy. Revisit tip #1 and make sure that you refocus where you need to get back on track.
A useful way to stay on track with your goals is to make yourself accountable. If you kind of silently tell yourself in your head that maybe you'll try this thing, but maybe not because it might be hard, but you kind of guess that you'll maybe give it a try for just a bit...do you think that you will really and truly believe that you will stick with it. First of all, you have to really want it but you also have to let others know you want it. Once you have put it out there for others to see then it becomes real.
There are several ways to do this:
Let your spouse, partner, family and friends know what you are working towards and WHY. Tell them how important it is that you have their support.
Find an accountabili-buddy (one of my favorite words) or a few to take the journey with you while supporting each other on the way. Meet up for exercise classes, a hike on a nature trail, share recipes or cook healthy meals together.
Use an activity tracker, like Fitbit, where you can track your progress and even have contests with others. While it doesn't have to be about competition and winning, this can be a way to level up and meet like-minded people when working towards making progress.
Create daily or weekly checklists with the steps you are working on that week. Check them off as you hit each one and aim to cross off all the items you committed to doing. There will be times where you may not want to do something...your heart, head or body is just not there. But, don't use that as an excuse. Sometimes it is a matter of just doing it and checking it off to meet your agenda. In the end, you will feel much better when you look back at the list and see you have hit all the items. But don't forget the All or Nothing Mindset tip-if you miss something, it's not the time to berate yourself or feel bad. Just make note and decide on what you can do differently to stay on track.
Join a group. One of my favorite places to find groups with like-minded people working towards similar goals is Facebook. You may want to join a few groups until you find one that really resonates with you. This is a great way to make new friends and connections and find the support you need to keep you accountable.
Hire a coach. A coach is an ally and support to educate and motivate you while holding you accountable and helping you stay on track because you made a commitment and investment in yourself.
When you follow these simple and very important tips when you really want to make healthy changes to improve your life, you are setting yourself up for long-term success. I hope you are able to use them to implement the changes that you are trying to make for your health and your future.
Ready to start living your life with abundant energy, better moods and optimal health? I have a proven methodology that gets results! Give me 12 weeks and I can get you there. Jump on a FREE call with me and I’ll tell you all about it. Go here to book--> Abundant Energy Strategy Session
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About the Author
Kristi Ryan is the founder of Kristi Ryan Holistic Nutrition and the creator of the Abundant Energy Method for Busy Women. As a holistic nutrition and health coach specializing in energy wellness she supports, educates, motivates and empowers busy women with nutrition, mindset and lifestyle transformation using her proven methodology to bring abundant energy and vitality into their lives.
Disclaimer: The information I share is for general information only and is not intended to replace medical advice. I do not diagnose, treat or cure disease, prescribe treatments or medications, or recommend medical treatment or surgery. You should speak to your physician prior to making any changes to your diet, lifestyle, exercise or medications or acting on anything you have read or discussed with me. If you don’t, you are doing so at your own risk.
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