We hear plenty about how important it is to eat right, get enough exercise and maintain a healthy weight. So we know what to do and we want to do it. But then, we have to manage the reality of work, family, friends and home.
It can be difficult to find the right balance. It’s so difficult, in fact, that just 2.7 percent of Americans manage to eat well, exercise, avoid smoking and keep body fat in check, according to a study in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings. The good news is that most people do at least some of those things.
Spring is a great time to think about wellness. The weather is getting better making it easier to get outside. And, local gardens are starting to bloom with fresh fruits and vegetables. But how do you find the motivation to opt for carrots before cookies or make time for a walk when you have a jam-packed schedule? Here are some tricks to try:
- Switch your perspective. Instead of thinking of exercising and eating right as something you “have” to do, think of it as something you “get” to do. Think of it as a privilege rather than just another chore.
- Focus on the “why.” Make a list of the reasons you want to be healthy and keep it handy. It could be wanting to keep up with your family, reducing your risk of chronic disease, decreasing stress or just generally feeling better.
- Ask yourself how you will feel. Are you going to be happy that you went for a bike ride? Are you going to be upset with yourself later if you don’t?
- Keep in mind that your health is important to your loved ones. They want you to feel your best. If doing it for yourself isn’t enough, then do it for them.
- Just take one step at a time. Trying to do too much all at once is overwhelming. But making one change and being consistent can turn it into a habit, and then you can take on another one.
- Recognize your accomplishments and build in rewards for yourself.
- Connect with friends and help each other stay on track. Your friends are often better at celebrating your victories and they can help you see your progress.
- Visualize yourself making the choices you want to make. Thinking about it ahead of time and anticipating the situation can make it easier.
- Visualize how you will look and feel after you’ve made the changes you want to change.
- Let go of the negativity of the past. Rather than dwelling on what you’ve done, focus on what you are doing now.