Many people are intimidated by the idea of getting healthy. It’s not that they don’t want to be healthier. What holds many back is the big picture of changing your “way of life.” Things that may have been unhealthy but were enjoyable to you must be removed from your life in exchange for something new, something you’re not used to, and in some cases, something you don’t even like. The truth is, change can be scary. You can minimize your fears by taking your goal towards a healthier lifestyle one step at a time.
Step One – Get Rid of Poor Habits
The saying that, “old habits die hard” has never been truer. The first hurdle to get over in your journey towards becoming a healthier person is to get rid of poor habits, rituals, and/or routines. Anything that you’re doing in your life that will cause harm to you physically or mentally is a poor habit that should be eliminated. Common unhealthy habits might include:
- Stress eating – Everyone has been guilty of this a time or two, but stress eating is detrimental to your health. Eating to mask or soothe emotions is only a temporary fix that can ultimately lead to weight gain, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. If you feel yourself stressed or emotionally overwhelmed, instead of eating, try doing something you enjoy or something productive to counteract those fake hunger pangs.
- Using drugs – Whether you’re taking one too many pain pills to get over a recent injury or you’re smoking marijuana and using other illicit drugs, drugs are easy to become dependent on and addicted to. You should immediately stop using drugs unless prescribed by a doctor (and even then, follow instructions). That’s easier said than done, but there are solutions. To get sober you will also need to cut ties with, or get help for, those who abuse drugs with you. If necessary, service providers like BLVD drug intervention programs can help you and your loved ones to realize the severity of addiction and the importance of getting help.
- Overspending – Though you may not have thought of overspending as a factor in your health, finances and emotional well-being often go hand in hand. When a person is stressed about bills and falling further into debt, the events can lead to depression, stress, or anxiety. Monitor your spending and begin cutting back on your excessive spending. As you find ways to cut back, take this money and put it towards your bills. With time, your bills will be paid off, the debt collectors will stop calling, and your health will improve.
Remember, take a good look at your life and determine which things you’re doing that could have a negative impact on you physically or mentally. Once you’ve identified it, stop the behavior and move on.
Step Two – Make Small Healthy Changes
To keep the idea of living a healthier life from intimidating you, it is best to start by making small healthy changes. Here are a few you might try:
- Get at least 8 hours of sleep
- Eat at least 5 times a day (3 meals, 2 snacks)
- Stop eating fast food
- Be active at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week (walk, jog, do yoga, play with the kids, just get up and move to burn calories)
- Find healthy alternatives to your favorite snacks and meals and begin replacing them
- Visit the doctor annually for bloodwork and a physical
- Take time to yourself to do something you love
These changes are small and easy to start but will have a major impact on your physical and emotional health. As it takes several weeks for changes to become a habit, start slow and work your way up to completing the entire list. Then, challenge yourself by adding more healthy choices to your life.
When you break the larger concept of getting healthy into smaller steps, it can become a lot easier to achieve. Getting healthy involves a lot more than hitting the gym and eating salads every day. It’s about ridding your life of poor habits and bad behaviors and introducing simple concepts and ways of living that will enrich your mental well-being, feel good to your physical well-being, and ultimately improve the quality of your life.