As a psychologist and life coach who focuses on working with women, I realized that my clients knew what might be included in a healthy diet and what good exercise might look like, but they still struggled with a healthy lifestyle. I did too. I had a hard time making the changes in my life that would be good for me until I realized that changing my thinking was going to be the way to change my health.
Here are my tips to change your mindset so you finally achieve a healthy lifestyle. Give these a shot before you spend time and money on nutritionists, personal trainers, or expensive diets and health clubs:
1. Get real clarity around why you want to change your diet and exercise plans.
If your focus is simply on appearance, you are unlikely to make permanent changes. Appearance is fleeting, and thus changing our habits to look a certain way is often not motivation enough. It’s far better to accept your appearance as is and instead focus on how you want to feel. Do you want more energy? A fuller range of motion? Fewer aches and pains? Changing your mindset to focus on feeling different will motivate you far more than short-term, superficial goals. Make a list of the reasons you want to change your health habits and then read that list every single day!
2. Learn to eat and exercise consciously.
Most of us have learned to eat quickly, standing up, watching television, or looking at our phones or tablets. We take little pleasure in eating when we do this and thus eat in a mindless and unhealthy way. Similarly, when we exercise, we view it as something we have to do to cross off of our to-do lists. When we eat consciously, we enjoy our food more, eat less, and focus on the taste and quality of the foods that we eat. You can’t ultimately change your diet if you aren’t conscious about what you are putting in your mouth.
3. Make the think-feel-behave connection.
Most people believe that our feelings are the most important part of our lives, but actually it is our thought process that leads to feelings and behaviors. If you are thinking to yourself, Oh poor me, I’ve had a rough day and I deserve to eat all of this junk food, you will feel sorry for yourself and thus behave in a way that mirrors those feelings.
On the other hand, if you change your mindset to something like this, Oh my, this was a rough day. I’m exhausted and overwhelmed and I want to find a way to take care of myself, you will feel more in control and confident. You'll treat yourself in a kind and compassionate way. We are completely able to control our thoughts as long as we take the time to recognize what we are saying to ourselves. Once you control and change your thoughts, your feelings and behaviors will follow.