You’ve set a long-term goal to live a healthier life, and you’re keeping your eyes on the prize of better health. Good for you! The easiest way to get started—and maintain—a healthier lifestyle is to break your goal down into smaller (and less-intimidating) steps. That gives you a game plan and a clear path from point A to point B.
For instance, if your long-term goal is to follow a healthier diet and exercise more, break things down one step further. Two very general goals might include: 1) eating more fruits and vegetables and 2) burning more calories with exercise.
Now, continue to break each step down until you have a list of very specific changes you can make in your daily life. How can you get more fruits and vegetables in your diet? How and when are you going to exercise? Here are a few more specific examples:
Specific goal: Stop eating out so much
Strategy 1: Bring a brown-bag lunch to work this week. Aim to include at least one fruit or vegetable serving in each lunch.
Strategy 2: Prepare big-batch meals on Sunday to have homemade dinners ready to warm up or finish throughout the week.
Specific goal: Add 45 more minutes of exercise into your week.
Strategy 1: Take the stairs instead of the elevator three days this week.
Strategy 2: Park farther away from the store and sneak in five minutes of walking to and from your car.
Now, you try it: Write down three specific goals that will help you accomplish your big-picture goal of leading a healthier lifestyle. Then, for each, come up with two game-plan strategies for getting there. You’re on your way!
Before any strenuous physical activity, be sure to talk to your doctor.