3 Critical Steps To Improving Your Health
Your body is your “one true home.” No matter where you find yourself living or who you find yourself with, you will always reside first and foremost in your corporeal form.
As such, it’s important that you take steps to preserve the state of your mind and body. This includes many common things, like sleeping well and eating a well-rounded diet. However, it also includes some less-exciting activities that are often avoided.
Here are three hard-to-swallow health tips that apply to anyone looking to improve their health. All must be considered and conquered to tap into sustainable health over the long term.
1. Be Strategic About Breaking Habits
A large portion of many individuals’ fitness journeys revolves around the need to break habits. Binging on junk food, lounging on the couch, and spiraling into anxiety and depression are common destructive habits. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are countless other habits out there.
It’s easy to get excited by a new exercise routine or other health commitment. However, once the initial luster wears off, it’s easy to slip back into old habits.
That’s why one of the simplest-yet-hardest health tips revolves around breaking habits. It’s an activity that should never be taken lightly. On the contrary, you should always be strategic about how you break your habits. Take the time to study, research potential tools to help you, stay accountable (more on that further down), and create a habit-breaking plan.
For instance, if you’re trying to get off of a drug dependency to improve your health, you must understand what potential struggles you may face. Often various medications can have different side effects.
On one hand, withdrawal from antipsychotic medication like Seroquel can lead to things like insomnia and even suicidal behavior. On the other hand, getting off of something like an antidepressant medication can create digestive issues and even tremors or restless legs. Knowing the potential symptoms that you could face is a key part of breaking the dependency and preparing mentally.
Of course, medication withdrawal is just one example. There are countless others. For instance, if you struggle with eating unhealthy food, you may need to keep your home clear of tempting options. If you slip into pessimistic thinking too easily, you might want to keep a list of cognitive distortions handy.
Whatever the situation, if your health goals start with breaking a habit, you have to take that initial step seriously. Otherwise, you leave unresolved tendencies that can turn into an unhealthy relapse in the future.
2. Make Long-Term Goals
Breaking habits is a critical step early in the health journey. If you want to be successful for a prolonged period of time, though, you must also set long-term goals.
This gives you something to stay focused on over time. It doesn’t matter if you’re dealing with a physical or mental health concern. You’ll be able to float for a while on your up-front success as you meet short-term objectives.
Sooner or later, though, you’re going to come down from that initial high. When that happens, you have to find ways to maintain your momentum — and that’s where it’s easy to slip.
As you set your goals, consider using a SMART goal model. This means each goal is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. At first, your goals can be focused on what’s directly in front of you. Losing weight, lowering your blood pressure, and regaining a positive perspective on life are all great short-term goals.
The trick is going further than these primary benchmarks. As you go along, continue to adjust your SMART goals so that they begin to look further into the future. Conducting self-evaluations and guarding against past habits is a good long-term goal. So is finding sustainable exercise options, like a good deskercise routine or walking the dog every day.
Whatever your goals look like, sustainability should always be a key factor in your considerations as you get further into your health journey.
3. Find Ways to Stay Accountable
Accountability is unpleasant at times. It reveals your deepest secrets and your direst failures — which is precisely why it’s so important.
Accountability helps you stay honest and above-board throughout your health-based activities. It’s an essential step toward reaching and maintaining good health. You can’t binge late at night or ditch the gym for a week or two without someone else knowing. You can’t ignore your health goals, either, when you’re facing your results on a regular basis.
There are two major ways to stay accountable.
The first is to find a good fitness tracker. There is an endless variety of options available. Some can monitor your heart rate. Others can log food in minute nutritional detail.
Still others record exercise, send workout reminders, and track your progress toward various goals. Consider what your health goals are and then look for a good fitness tracker that helps you keep tabs on the metrics that matter.
In addition, look for a good accountability partner. This can be the truly difficult part of your health journey. It’s hard to find someone that can share in this very intimate activity.
You want to find an individual that is willing to call you out on your excuses and keep you on the straight and narrow. At the same time, they should also be encouraging. You want to feel welcomed and supported by an accountability partner. Otherwise, it can be difficult to trust them and stay honest.
A professional trainer is a great option for an accountability partner. A friend that you trust (particularly if they share your health goals) is another good choice. You can even set up an accountability network with multiple people committed to keeping you honest and on track.
It’s easy to jump on the health hype train. However, once aboard, it doesn’t take long before you’re faced with some unpleasant, uncomfortable, and downright undesirable situations. Things like breaking habits, sticking to goals, and staying accountable are challenging at the best of times. When you’re at a low point, they can feel impossible.
That’s why it’s important to do your best to prepare for these situations beforehand. That way, when they strike, you’ll be ready to face them head-on without compromising your health in the process.