In the fifth of a series of exclusive blogs for getback, Nutritionist Bonnie Chivers looks at strategies to help us overcome obstacles to healthy habits.
In my last blog we touched on goal setting. With 2022 now full steam ahead, it might be time for a review of those healthy living goals you gave yourself in the new year.
If you find you’re struggling to achieved what you’d hoped, consider these three factors.
Identifying what drives us to change our lifestyle can be very powerful.
Why do you want to get up and walk each morning, or eat more vegetables? Is it to keep up with your kids, feel good at a friend’s wedding, or to perform better at work?
Write it down and remember it. When things are feeling hard, reading this message might get you back on track.
The big sticking point! And the part that most people leave out when they set goals. Obstacles are things or thoughts that stop you from achieving your goal. They too, are very individual – what may stop you, may not be a problem for someone else.
When you think about your goal, what are the obstacles that come to your mind?
Common obstacles are:
I don’t have enough time.
I’m too tired.
It’s too hot or cold outside.
I don’t feel confident.
I don’t have anyone to join me.
My partner or kids complain when healthy changes are suggested or made.
Identifying your obstacles helps you to counteract them with strategies.
This may take a little bit of time; some strategies might not work at all, or some may wane over time. Write down a few strategies that can help you achieve your goal.
However, it’s important that you don’t list too many. If you’re having to counteract 10 obstacles, chances are the goal you’re setting might not be right for you.
Some strategy ideas are:
– Make a weekly meal plan, and set aside time in your diary to write it
– Add fresh fruit to breakfast.
– Have a morning smoothie with a cup of leafy greens in it.
– Put five pieces of fruit on your desk so you remember to have one each day.
– Get an exercise bike so you can jump on for a few minutes whenever you have time, regardless of the weather.
– Call a friend while you’re walking to pass time.
– Take unhealthy things out of the house so you’re not tempted.
– Don’t buy chocolate and lollies.
– Don’t commit to exercising on certain days. Life is busy and sometimes you won’t feel up to it – instead aim for a number of sessions per week.
– Keep a tally on your fridge or computer (this works for many things, exercise, fruit, water).
– Set an alarm in your phone and get up from you desk for a two-minute stretch.
– Replace your evening wine with kombucha.
– If you love dancing, do that for exercise.
– Write a list of the veggies in your fridge and stick it on the door, so you don’t forget to use them.
– Throw a few cups of veggies into take-away meals to make them healthier.
Set aside time to review your goals every now and then.
When making big changes this might need to happen more frequently, but once you start moving towards a sustained, healthy habit, the occasional check-in might suffice.
Also remember that what works at one point, may not work for ever. As winter comes, we get a new job or move house, a whole new set of obstacles may arise.
Don’t stress – just align yourself with a new plan and you’ll be back on track before you know it.