Turning Healthy Choices into Long-Lasting Habits
Doctors, hospitals, and the media are placing increased emphasis on wellness and disease prevention. In addition, the Internet and social media make it easier than ever to gain access to health tips, workout routines, healthy recipes, and more. Yet, many people struggle with how to make healthy choices a regular habit. Trying a few light recipes or going on an occasional run around the neighborhood will not sustain long-term health. To make healthy choices a regular part of your routine, try these tips:
You will not be able to fix every bad habit at the same time, so take the time to identify your biggest challenges. This may include resisting fried food, getting more sleep at night, going to the gym instead of watching television, or finding the support needed to stop smoking. At the same time, make a list of healthy things you enjoy, such as a favorite hobby or spending time with friends. Then pick one challenge and one healthy item you enjoy as your primary area of focus.
Create a Clear Plan
Write out how you will work on your primary area of focus. Having a plan with clear steps will make it easier to reach your goal. Your plan should include the following:
- Specific Goals – Be sure to set specific and measurable goals. This could include things like go the gym three times a week, cook at home four nights instead of getting takeout, complete a program to quit smoking within the next three months, spend two days a week gardening, or other goals.
- Assess Needs – Are there items you need to put your plan in motion? Do you need to purchase some type of sports equipment, investigate options for exercise classes, or download relaxing music to help you fall asleep at night? Decide when and how you will gather these things so you can move forward.
- Chart a Timeline – Set dates to begin implementing your goals and dates for reaching your goals. Putting specific dates in writing and on your calendar is one way to make your health habits a priority.
Celebrate Small Victories
Don’t wait until you’ve reached your end goal to celebrate. Reward small victories with time spent listening to your favorite music, enjoying the outdoors with a loved one, or attending a special event. While your overall goal may be to work up to running 3 miles, celebrate when you can run a mile without stopping or when you’ve managed to run for five days in a row. Recognizing these steps along the way will actually help train your brain to naturally select healthy options and trigger good feelings.
Enlist Your Primary Care Provider
Your primary care provider can serve as a great ally in helping you turn healthy choices into continuing habits. Your doctor or nurse practitioner can help you identify top health priorities and provide guidance for exercise, diet, and resources within your community. Talk with your provider about your goals and take advantage of the health expertise he or she can offer.
The primary care doctors and providers at LeBauer HealthCare help patients of all ages set health goals as part of regular and ongoing care. With six offices in the Triad, it’s easy to find a LeBauer doctor that is convenient to your home or work. Call one of our offices today to start your journey to a healthy lifestyle.