Making healthy choices can help us feel better and live longer. Everything you do impacts your health and quality of life, now and in the future. There are proven strategies you can use to set yourself up for success to reduce your risk for many health issues such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Here are a few:
Know Your Habits
Our daily task and repetitive behaviors become our habits. They affect the thought process of our brain and become automatic, creating habits that are hard to change. Once we create an awareness around what we regularly do, and look for patterns in our behavior that trigger unhealthy habits, we can then begin to change them positive ones (i.e., reduce sugar, drink more water, reduce TV time, move more, eat more veggies, measure food, limit processed food, and sleep well).
Make a Plan
Make a plan that includes small and simple goals. Then take reasonable and specific actions to move towards them. Incorporate what you think you will need to be successful. Change things around you or in your environment to support your goals (i.e., stock up on healthy snacks vs filling your cabinet with poor food choices, reduce sodium and add instead more herbs and spices).
Stay on Track
Although putting a positive plan in place for yourself is exciting and motivating, there are times when we feel challenged about reaching our goals. By identifying negative thoughts and becoming aware, we can turn them into positive and productive ones. Keeping a journal to log your meals and workouts can also help stay on track. Tracking your behavior assists with learning what your challenges are so you can overcome obstacles.
We all have the power and the ability to create and sustain a healthy lifestyle. Things may not always go as planned and that’s ok. Positive change is a process and what’s most important is to keep moving forward with making these healthy choices. Explore different strategies until you find something that works for you!