New Year, New You: 3 Simple Steps to a Healthier Life
Are you ready to enter that “New Year, New You” phase? I know I am, but this is the first time in a long time. Why? Because all of December I started mapping out exactly how I wanted to change my ways in the new year.
I realized the ability to magically re-create myself overnight simply does not exist. Change takes time, commitment, and a plan that I can live with for the rest of my life.
For example, I tend to struggle with organizing my finances. Come tax time, I always feel frustrated with my financial disorganization and lack of preparation.
Imagine if I were to get audited or if my business were to suddenly expand. My lack of financial organization could cost me thousands of dollars.
I’ve tried to get on top of my money before, buying books on budgeting basics, and researching software such as Mint.com, Outright, and Quicken.
Then I realized that I had been treating my financial desperation just as I had treated my desperate desire to lose weight in the past. I would buy dieting books, study nutrition, and try a variety of exercise and diet programs and then not follow through.
It wasn’t until I fundamentally shifted my mindset around food, exercise, and my body that I was able to follow through on the nuggets of information that worked well for me.
In conjunction to changing my mentality, I found a way of eating that helped me get slender and that I could live with permanently.
The first shift has to do with motivation.
If you have a goal for yourself and want to follow through, get in touch with what will motivate you to follow through—even when you don’t feel like it—and face the consequences of what will happen if you don’t.
I want to be financially organized because it means I will be more responsible to my business and my family. This is a deeply important value to me. I tell myself that if I don’t become more organized, I risk losing money and not being able to maintain my current lifestyle.
Let’s say your goal is to get healthy by losing your belly fat. If you don’t follow through and continue to keep on the excess weight, you need to think about how that will affect you and the people around you.
If you do not take charge of losing your gut, you may end up with heart disease, diabetes, or cancer. But even before disease manifests, you may suffer from fatigue, indigestion, poor stamina, and moodiness.
If you do follow through, what outcome will be important to you? It may be peace of mind, more confidence, and more energy, or less stress. Figure out what is deeply important to you about attaining your goals.
Once you have gotten clear about what you want and why it is important to you, plan how you will get it.
To become healthier by losing weight, for example, increase the amount of vegetables you eat. Slowly decrease the amount of processed foods and grains you eat, and slowly decrease the number of calories you consume.
Plan what healthy foods you will eat regularly, fill your pantry and refrigerator with those foods, and keep your kitchen neat and well-stocked to ensure healthy choices.
Before you are hungry, decide what you will eat when you are hungry so that you are well-prepared to follow through.
For fitness, look at your schedule and decide when a good time would be for you to commit to exercise. Schedule exercise time slots into your calendar, and keep those appointments as though they were scheduled doctors’ appointments or dinner dates.
I decided to commit to a simple task around money: Every time I make any money, I record it in a spreadsheet. Then each month I add up my income and compare it to my expenses.
I know that I won’t always want to do this task, but if I want to master my finances, I must commit to it. I am very clear about how being in charge of my financial life will affect people in my life and my own sense of well-being.
So, in regards to getting healthier by losing weight, think about what you are ready to commit to. Perhaps it is to limit your alcohol and sugar intake to special occasions or the weekend.
Perhaps it is to add three more servings of fresh, organic vegetables to your daily diet, to refrain from eating when you are not hungry, and to exercise for 15 to 30 minutes every day.
Think about the consequences if you do not commit to making these changes.
You may not always feel like doing what it takes to reach your goals, but in order to make a change, you must be fully committed.
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