Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance,
order, rhythm and harmony.
It is that time of year again when people do, or do not make resolutions to make changes in their lives. Even without formal resolutions, which I do not make, people begin to think of new and “improved” ways to get through life with the beginning of a new year. Taking on a new life change can feel a bit overwhelming. How do you fit your new routine into your old life? How do you accomplish your goals while still taking care of the things that need to be done? How do you adapt to the new feelings, stresses and problems that can be associated with reaching your goal?
For example, if you are planning on making major dietary changes, you are likely going to have some withdrawal symptoms. Cutting sugar out of your diet, caffeine or even preservatives can cause real chemical withdrawal symptoms. Fortunately these should only last for a few days. How will you fit all of that into your life and still push forward to be successful?
Here are four suggestions to help you incorporate your new lifestyle changes into your everyday life.
1. Make changes slowly. You don’t have to make all of your changes at once. Houses are not built in one day, and you will not reach all of your goals in one day either. Small steps will get the job done. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, an initial small step might be to eliminate one of your habits that has contributed to your weight gain. Perhaps it is snacking after 6:00, or it is drinking soda, or maybe even drive-Thu lunches. Take each of the single factors that contribute to your goal and make them a goal in themselves.
2. Replace your old habits with new ones. It is much easier to add things to your life than to take things away, particularly when it comes to new habits. Many health and lifestyle experts recommend replacing old habits with new ones when striving to attain better health. For example, if you are trying to have more energy or wanting to lose a few pounds, you might decide that you want to cut sugary drinks out of your daily routine first. Rather than just eliminating sugary drinks, replace them with mineral water, green tea or water. These are all excellent for you and now you are actually doing two things to improve your health rather than one.
3. Celebrate successes. There’s nothing better than a little pat on the back to help you succeed. Take the time each day to acknowledge your successes, even the small ones. For example, if you replace one soda each day with a cup of green tea or water, congratulate yourself for that step. This will not only make it easier to replace the next soda, it will also make it easier to handle anything that comes your way later. It’s all about staying positive.
4. Ask for help. We cannot accomplish everything by ourselves and there is no reason you should try. We are all here to help each other. Turn to your family and friends for help when you need it. For moral support as well as tangible help, friends and family can make attaining your goals and incorporating them into your everyday life significantly easier.
It doesn’t have to be difficult to get going with new healthy habits in your life. All you need is a little planning and forethought, and you will be on the road to better health, or any other new goal you seek to achieve.
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