Here’s my tips when making lifestyle changes to prevent or manage serious health issues. Whether you are newly diagnosed with serious health issues or have been trying to manage them for some time, you certainly would benefit from making lifestyle changes. While you cannot change your diagnosis, you can change aspects of your life to manage or lessen your symptoms and improve the quality of your life. And I have no doubts you already know how important this will be.
Having experienced a traumatic period of ill health myself, one thing that I know is that we have to refuse to become dependent on medication and medical intervention. Equally important is making lifestyle changes and making these an essential part of your integrated approach to deal with your health issues.
Let me get clear by what’s meant by lifestyle changes.
Lifestyle is most commonly defined as “the habits, attitudes, tastes, moral standards, economic level, etc., that together constitute the mode of living of an individual or group.”
To me lifestyle is simply “the way in which we live.”
Whereas change is defined as “To give a completely different form or appearance to; transform.”
I see change as being “exchanging one thing for another.”
There can be no more important change than changing your lifestyle. As lifestyle plays a huge role in improving your health. In fact lifestyle changes will help your transform your health.
The good news is people who engage in unhealthy habits — such as smoking, a poor diet, lack of physical inactivity can make changes and in turn bring about improvements in their health, and definitely stop things from getting worse.
Focusing on a healthy lifestyle will make improvements in the quality of life, so have no doubts it is a change worth making. So I hope you will begin to focus on your diet, physical activity and stress management techniques especially as it can increase your life span.
As I said in a previous blog post Another Year Another Healthy Lifestyle Resolution making lifestyle change is hard, really hard.
“Making a healthy lifestyle change is easy to start, but incredibly difficult to sustain. Sustainable lifestyle changes are the hardest thing trying to turn good choices into daily habits. Whenit comes to lifestyle changes, the struggle is within you. Temptations are hard to resist. How do you start and sustain lifestyle changes?” Larry Lewis
The problem many find is that making a healthy lifestyle change can be quite challenging. In fact, it can be absolutely terrifying as you are considering changing the way in which you live your life.
It is even more challenging when you are facing serious health problems and the fear this brings.
So let me help you to succeed in your attempts at making lifestyle changes. These are some important steps for you to act upon.
1. Make the Decision
Probably the most overlooked first step is making the decision to change. You can have the best of intentions to make a change, but until you actually decide to take action nothing will ever come of those intentions and plans. Change is difficult, and procrastination is an easy get out, but if you are serious about your decision and totally committed to bringing about change begin taking action so as to make a start. To succeed in bringing about change you must associate enough pain with your current circumstances and equate enormous pleasure with successful change. Let this become your driving force.
2. Don’t expect immediate results
Lifestyle changes will take time and effort on your part, and the difficult thing is often committing and following through on taking the necessary steps and giving these changing enough time to bed in. You should already be aware that making a lifestyle change is challenging. Old habits die hard. Also as the saying goes “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” This often is what you find the most difficult thing to accept. Wanting quick fixes you get frustrated. Then use this as your excuse to give up, claiming “well I did try.” You need to recognize that you are going up against what have been years of bad behaviour and habit. So it is going to take time, and you must stay committed to seeing it through.
3. Make a plan that will stick.
In order to be successful in making lifestyle changes you have to know where you are and where you want to be. Then you have to create a plan to get you the results you desire. Sit down and logically plan what you need to do and what is actually possible. Write everything down, and ask yourself if you’re confident that these activities and goals are both realistic and whether you’ll stick to them.
4. Change one behaviour at a time.
Unhealthy behaviours develop over the course of time, so replacing unhealthy behaviours with healthy ones requires at least some time. It is not going to happen overnight as I’ve already mentioned. Many people run into problems when they try to change too many things too quickly. Lifestyle change requires more than one behavioural change more than likely, but to succeed you are best of just changing one thing at a time. Only when you have become comfortable with change one should you then implement the second. If your goal is to have the best health possible, lifestyle changes are essential. It is best to go for a step by step approach in a slow, methodical way. One change at a time.
5. Know Your “Why?”
Of course nothing can be more important than making lifestyle changes to manage or avoid serious health problems. But adopting new, healthier habits needs a even more personal motivation. Of course our health matters but why does it matter to you? The important thing is figuring out why we want these things. “It takes a little bit of soul-searching.” If you don’t know why you want to change, you are more likely to lose your motivation at some point to stay on course. In fact, not knowing your “why” is the single most common reason for failing to reach one’s goal. Your “why” is the real reason underneath your stated reason for changing. It is your inspiration and your motivation. I know this sounds crazy particularly if you’ve only recently been diagnosed with a worrying condition, but you still need to determine for yourself the true value in your mind of getting in control of it. Why do you want your health to improve? What will it mean to you? “I want to be well” is great, “I want to see my children grow up, develop, marry, have children, be there for them” is truly motivating, well it is for me. For me also important was the desire to be fully energised, back to my physical best – and get that ‘feel good feeling’ once again. A decision to start lifestyle change and see it through needs a strong motivation.
In a recent article I wrote I laid out 10 Essential Rules of Healthy Living, and these give a very clear indication of the areas you need to look at to bring about beneficial lifestyle change.
- Eliminate your Bad Habits such as emotional eating, drinking alcohol in excess, smoking, having a sedentary lifestyle, or not getting enough sleep.
- Eat Healthily – a well-balanced diet consisting of complex carbohydrates, protein, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and lots of water.
- Drink Plenty of Water – when we are properly hydrated our heart and blood vessels work much better, along with all of our other bodily functions.
- Get Active & Exercise your Body – Daily physical activity can greatly improve your quality of life and lifespan.
- 8 Hours of Sleep a night – lack of rest weakens your immune system and makes you susceptible to illness and disease.
- Power up your Morning – you need to create a healthy morning routine beneficial for your physical and emotional health.
- Develop a Positive Mind & Self Image – When you power up your mind with positive thoughts and energy, it will empower you to change your life in a positive way
- Practice Stress Management – Stress isn’t preventable, but learning how to deal with it effectively can prevent it from negatively impacting your health.
- Just breathe – breathing is essential to living, breathing well is crucial to living healthily.
- Life must be in balance – All of the key areas of our lives overlap and interlink, effecting each other so to live a contented, happy and healthy life you must not ignore any one of them.
So in this article I hope I have helped you not only decide to fully commit to making lifestyle changes, but showed you the way to do it.
If this has helped please share it so we together are helping other who need to bring about healthy lifestyle changes in their lives.