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7 surprising ways to stick to your health goals

2020 has not been the year any of us had planned, but there is still time to get back on track and reach those health goals.

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We all know the story about the fluctuating thing that is “motivation”.  

We have these grand plans for our health and wellness and for a while we stick to it. We do pretty well actually, but slowly, this thing called LIFE takes over and we are not making the big gains that we planned, or even worse, we are back to where we started.  

But let’s take a step back and make a reconnection with our goals and do all those small things that WORK!  

1.      HAVE A PLAN  

After we have our big goals and dreams, we need to break that down into the everyday actions that matter. Develop your monthly, weekly and daily plan that supports your bigger goal. As the saying goes, if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail! Live every day as though you have already achieved those goals. This may feel awkward at first, but trust me, it does get easier. Give up the rollercoaster once and for all, make your plan and stick to it.  

2.      SUBSTITUTE YOUR FAVOURITE FOODS  

We know that we have to eat healthier, but we don’t want to give up our favourite things. I hear you. My favourite all time food is pizza. And I eat pizza every week! But instead of the shop-bought, fat-ladden, greasy pizza served at pizzerias, I use a cauliflower base and load it up with my favourite personal recipe sauce, heaps of veggies, a handful of cheese, and voila! So no matter what you love, think about how you can make improvements. Hamburger? Find a wholegrain bun, lean meat, heaps of salad, and good to go. Anyone can get a done-for-you meal plan but chances are that it is complicated, there will be many things that you just don’t like, and therefore you won’t stick to it long term. We need to adapt our already favourite foods into healthier versions. Don’t give up your favourite foods. Just take the time to do some research on how to make improvements to your all-time favourite go-to foods, and enjoy these guilt-free.  

3.      “HAVE SOME VEGGIES, AND THEN HAVE SOME CHOCOLATE” 

A couple of years ago, my daughter bought me this amazing journal where she wrote about all the beautiful things about our mother/daughter relationship. It was a gorgeous, heart-felt gift that I will treasure forever. And in this book, she wrote about her favourite advice that I had given her about health, and this is what she wrote: “Have some veggies, and then have some chocolate. It’s all good.” And that’s pretty good advice (if I do say so myself). By all means have your treats, but make sure you eat the nutritious stuff first. If you are going out for dinner, make a big part of it a delicious salad or veggies, then if you want, share a dessert with a friend. Focus on food being the source of nutrition rather than a source of comfort, and you too can then have some chocolate 🙂  

4.      PORTION SIZE  

In our very abundant society, we have everything available to us and it is all very easy to access. But watch the portion size. Being aware of your bodies’ energy needs and what you are consuming is important. I am not talking about being a slave to macro calculators or counting calories, but we need to be aware. Be mindful of the calories of foods to help guide you to make better decisions. And this also links back to planning. If you are planning on a night out with friends and want to enjoy yourself, then do that. But plan your week around it so that, overall, you keep yourself on track to your goals.  

5.      COOK ONCE, EAT TWICE (or three times)  

We are busy people and I certainly do not have time for 3 different meals per day etc. We need things that are quick and fast AND nutritious. So any time I cook anything, I always make more. Whether it be for lunch the next day or to put in the freezer. Let’s face it. Life gets in the way…often. Unless you plan on never going out with friends, to a birthday party or on vacation, you have got to plan. And when we have days where everything is feeling crazy and out of control, instead of heading to the fast-food drive through, we can head home and pull a healthy, nutritious meal out of the freezer. Winning!  

6.      SAY “I DON’T”  

When we are trying to restrict our intake of certain foods that are not helping us on our journey, we tend to say “I can’t”. “I can’t have chocolate”. “I can’t have a wine”. This immediately sends a signal to our brain that we are being deprived of something and our body goes into panic and stress. Immediately, we are focussed on what we are telling ourselves what we can’t have. So let’s change this internal language. Instead say “I don’t”. When we say “I don’t”, we are giving our brains an instruction that this is how we act. Saying “I don’t” <insert particular behaviour here>, we are setting ourselves up for winning. “I don’t drink wine through the week”. “I don’t eat chocolate mindlessly whilst watching TV”. We are educating ourselves that this is how things are done from now on. And with that, we will change our behaviours.  

7.      PRACTICE GRATITUDE  

We really do live in a privileged world. No matter what is going on that is beyond our control, we need to focus on our very fortunate circumstances we experience every day. I like to challenge myself to note three things a day for which I am grateful. I do this when I am sitting in traffic, or waiting in a queue. It is really easy to find time to be grateful. Whilst it is great to write them down (there is lots of literature about the benefits of writing down things that you are grateful for) but even making a mental note will have huge positive impacts to your mood and your ability to cope with the stresses of the day.  

A simple list but nonetheless, these strategies work!  And as they say, a year from now you’ll wish you had started today.  So choose today as the day to start living the life your dream of.   

What are some of your strategies that you use to keep yourself on track? I would love to hear your tips.  

For more health and wellness coaching tips, sign up through my website

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