When taking on a lifestyle change by choice or for medical reasons, it feels overwhelming. When we make the choice to modify our lifestyle, it is never easy. These types of changes can be related to the food you eat, your exercise plan, weight loss, becoming more fit, new job or business, quitting smoking, quitting drinking, among other examples. It doesn’t matter what your change is. It is change that matters.
To bring about change requires true determination and an end-game or goal.
As many of you know, our drastic lifestyle change came about when both of our kids were diagnosed with Crohn’s, an inflammatory bowel disease. When given the option of a restricted diet versus medication, it was an easy choice but not an easy goal. I was truly determined to make the dietary change for the benefit of our family. I know you might be thinking that since it was for medical reasons, the choice to change must have been easier. Well it’s not necessarily easier. It does give you more determination because as an adult one understands the medical risks. However, the temptations and distractions are still there.
Have made the leap, I know what it takes to turn your goals into reality. Here are my recommendations if you want to make a change in your lifestyle:
• List all the reasons why you want to make a change,
• Make a plan
• Be patient with yourself as you will make mistakes or not follow through with the plan 100%. There is always tomorrow to get it right!
• Give yourself benchmarks (1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year…) to re-evaluate how you feel about your change but stick to the plan until the benchmark. If you decide to continue, follow through until the next benchmark.
• If you know you are going to be in a position that makes it difficult, make a plan this will make it easier. For example, I take food with us whenever we go to any social event and even in the car. That way I know there will be something we can eat and we can stay on our restricted diet.
PLANNING, PLANNING, PLANNING IS THE KEY!
Planning ahead will save you from significant frustration and will empower you to keep going when you encounter temptations that could derail your plan.
For us, breaking the plan once will send us in a subconscious spiral. Meaning I just “cheated” with this food but I feel ok… what’s the big deal to have something else? Before we know it we have cheated three times in a week and now symptoms start showing up. It is the symptoms that make us refocus and reset our goals again.
We made this commitment to eat better over three years ago. It hasn’t been easy. Sometimes, I look the other way when my kids “cheat” but most of the time they chose well even when I am not with them. Soon it will have to be their commitment and determination that carries them through into adulthood. I have chosen differently. I will never look at food the same way. I feel better with my permanent lifestyle dietary change.
Good luck with your next lifestyle change! Focus on the goal and the outcome that you will achieve. You can do it!