There’s no doubt that exercise, diet, and other lifestyle changes will help you live a healthy and long life. Whether you want to incorporate more plants into your diet or exercise more, having a unique strategy is essential for making sure you stay on track and focused for optimal health. However, changes can be hard to stick to due to the many obstacles and roadblocks that come your way. If you struggle with making and maintaining your health goals, here are five tips from Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen, the bestselling author behind Habits of Health Transformational System and the co-founder of OPTAVIA, a health and wellness community that supports holistic health. Let his words inspire you to take charge of your health and achieve your wellness goals!
Check in with yourself
“Set a good foundation! Begin by understanding where you’re starting from, both physically and mentally. Get to the bottom of what really matters to you – intrinsic motivation is the key to creating lasting change in your life,” Dr. Andersen says.
Make your goals realistic
“When motivated, we tend to bite off more than we can chew. But when that initial motivation fades, the behavior change quickly fades as well. Since the key to habit formation is doing the action or routine consistently over time until it is automatic, the key to installing habits is to make the action simple enough that you have the ability to do it every day. Start with the simplest, easiest goal imaginable. Make the threshold for success so low that it takes little effort to be successful and begin to establish the habit through repetition first,” Dr. Andersen says. No goal is too big or too small and everyone’s journey is different.
Use both self-compassion and accountability
It’s normal to experience setbacks when maintaining your goal. “You won’t be successful one hundred percent of the time; you will fail and make mistakes. But when you do fail, reframe that experience as a learning opportunity and extend self-compassion. At the same time, don’t let yourself off the hook completely. Stay committed and get back on track. Any journey, especially when it’s health-related, is a series of ups and downs, not a straight line,” Dr. Andersen says.
Find out your WHY and the HOW
“In order to achieve a goal, we need both the WHY and the HOW. The WHY is, “Why is this important to me? Why am I willing to experience this discomfort?” The HOW is, “How am I going to achieve this goal? Who can help me?” Oftentimes, we fail because we only have one or the other. It may be clear why a health goal is important but we have no idea how we are going to achieve it. Or, we spend all our time figuring out how to achieve a goal, but we don’t understand why it is important to us,” Dr. Andersen says. Recognizing the purpose behind your goal will help you reach it!
“Any successful person will tell you it took a team to accomplish their goals. So, get a coach, a workout buddy, a meal prep buddy, a lunchtime walking buddy, a personal trainer, a counselor or whoever you can to help you,” Dr. Andersen says.