Are you ready to start on your journey to a healthier life? The first step on my 10 Baby Steps Towards Living a Healthier Life is having the right mindset. If your mind is in the right place, you’re going to have a lot more success with this health journey.
Mindset is the mental attitude you possess. It can mean different things to different people. I’ll share with you what having the right mindset means to me. Of course, you can add to it if there’s another attitude you want to have to help you begin your health journey.
Know Your Why
Before you get started with any of the other steps, you’ll need to ask yourself some questions. Why do you even want to be healthy? Do you have a sickness you want to cure? Do you want to lose weight? Have more energy? Do what you can to live longer? If you want to lose weight, why? Do you want to have more self-confidence?
My reason for living healthier was to get rid of my eczema. I was sick of going to doctors each year and being prescribed cream after cream to just cover it up, not actually cure it. I wanted to figure out what was causing my eczema and how I could actually get rid of it. You can read more about that here. These Healthy Baby Steps are the first things I did to help cure my eczema. And they took me pretty far on that journey. After that, I implemented some more steps to finish getting rid of it completely. Like I said in the overview of the Baby Steps, these steps may not get you to what your final goal is, but they are a very good place to start! After that, you can tweak some more things to improve your health even more.
Now that my eczema is cleared up I continue to live a healthy lifestyle to keep from getting flare-ups, to feel great, and so I can be around for a long time.
If you know your reason that you are starting your health journey it will be a lot easier to maintain it. So figure out your why and remember it. Write it down, post it somewhere, and read it often.
Set Your Goals
After you know why you want to live more healthy, it’s time to set some actionable goals. This kind of goes along with the last point, but it’s more of the “how.” Set specific goals for what you want to achieve and how you will achieve it.
Look ahead at the rest of the Baby Steps. How can you achieve each of those? For adding more movement in, your goal could be to go to the gym Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and go on walks outside the other days. Or you can set a goal to do 30 jumping jacks every hour (because movement is not just about a formal workout).
One of my goals for adding in more vegetables is to eat every kind of vegetable (that the grocery store sells) throughout the year. That will help ensure that I’m getting a variety of nutrients.
Get out your planner and write your goals down. Schedule them in and design your week. What exactly will your week look like in order for you to achieve your goals? I wrote my schedule in my planner, making sure I scheduled in time for my workouts, 8 hours of sleep a night, meal planning, grocery shopping, meal prepping, and the other things I want to do to set my self up for health success.
In order to meet your goals, you have to be determined and want it for yourself. You’re probably not going to be very successful if you’re just taking these steps because someone else wants you to. And vice versa. If you show these Baby Steps to someone else in the hopes that they will change some things and become more healthy, chances are it’s not going to work. Real change comes when you actually want it and are determined to make the changes.
Have a positive mindset! When I first started eating Paleo (You can read more about what that is here) I would get kind of upset when we would have parties or staff meetings at school filled with food that I couldn’t have. I had a negative attitude about missing out on different foods. Now that I’ve seen and felt the awesome effects of living this way, it doesn’t bother me. If there’s nothing for me to eat, I don’t sweat it. Eating junky food is not worth eczema flare-up, gaining weight, or just feeling “blah” for me. I remember my why and I come prepared to things with my own healthy food, just in case.
If there are people in your life that give you a hard time about eating healthy, don’t surround yourself by them. Choose people to hang out with that have the same values as you and that will encourage you in your health journey.
Some things that are marketed as “healthy” today are not actually healthy. We’ve been told for so long that fat-free is good for us. So many products in the grocery store have “Fat-Free” or “Reduced Fat” written on them. I’ll share more about fat in an upcoming post, but understand that fat is not our enemy. Things that have fat removed from them usually have lots of sugar added to them. And anytime we’re taking away from and adding to something – that’s processing and more harmful than just eating the thing as close to it’s natural state as possible.
Carbs aren’t your enemy either. Carbs and fats are both macronutrients that our bodies need to fuel us.
So, be open to learning new things and figuring some things out yourself. Don’t just believe that everything marked as “healthy” really is healthy for your body. Look at the ingredients. If it’s in a package and it looks a lot different than it did when it came out of the ground, it’s probably highly processed and not very health-promoting.
Be Progress-Oriented, Not Perfection-Oriented
Also, try not to have the mindset that living healthy is an all-or-nothing thing – either following a diet strictly or eating pizza and drinking Coke. If you start eating healthy, and then slip up and have a slice of pizza, don’t stress about it (stressing about it could be even more detrimental to your health than the slice of pizza is).
We want to be determined to stay on track and do our best to eat healthy foods. But if you don’t eat something healthy for one meal, don’t dwell on it. There’s no need to say to yourself that you “fell off the wagon” or that you’ll “start on the diet again next week.”
Living healthfully is NOT a diet. It is all about making choices that will help your body function optimally. When you make an unhealthy choice, move on. Make a healthy choice the next time. Don’t let it derail your whole journey.
I don’t believe in having “cheat meals” or “cheat days.” I eat healthy the majority of the time, and when I feel like having a treat, I’ll intentionally have one. And when I say one, I mean one small treat. I call it a “treat” instead of “cheat,” because, again, I’m being positive 🙂 . If you make the choice to have a treat every once in a while, there’s no point giving yourself a hard time about it.
So take these steps to make slow and steady progress each week to live a more healthy life.
Go ahead and work this week on getting the right mindset and setting your goals. Then, when you’re ready, move on to Healthy Living Baby Step #2 – Sleep.