Make a lasting change!

Last time I wrote about the importance of motivation in reclaiming one’s health. In fact, I can usually predict a patient’s results based on their stated commitment to getting well. When a patient says, “I’ll do whatever is necessary to get well, I just don’t know what to do”, I know they’re headed toward better health; all we need to do is point them in the right direction.

Imagine trying to get some place that you’ve never been before without a GPS, road map or even a compass. People that are successful in achieving a healthy lifestyle have a road map or route to get there. Some people can, by trial and error, figure out the steps necessary for them to create a healthy lifestyle. Some of us may require or desire a bit of guidance from those who have already figured it out. Most people fall somewhere in between. Without any kind of game plan, we’re almost sure to fail.

In determining our route to a healthier lifestyle we want to remember to use the information gathering and critical thinking discussed in my earlier post. Once we determine our goals, we can begin to take action by implementing 3 steps to creating our healthy lifestyle plan.

The first step is to set attainable goals. The changes that we make have to be realistic for us based on our lifestyles. If we set goals that are too difficult or even impossible to attain then we increase the chance for failure. I’ve found that, for most people, small incremental changes are more sustainable than big life changes.

The second step is creating some form of accountability. This is where a majority of people can use some help. Whether we do it on our own or with help, we need to have a system of keeping track of our goals, to determine success. If needed, we can make modifications to our plan.

Finally, as with any sustainable change, we need to realize that there will be ups and downs. Understanding this ahead of time can help to keep us from going completely off the rails when we slip up. When this happens, it is usually means that our change was too abrupt and we need to re-examine step one. I’ve never seen a progress graph, of any kind, that didn’t have a few dips. Remember to keep the big picture in mind.

Most coaches are aware that individuals may require modifying their approach based on their own personality. Tune in and we’ll explore this next time!