It is easy to go with the flow. Doing what comes naturally is ingrained in everyone’s DNA. However, in the realm of health and fitness this can have disastrous consequences on our lives. Simply following the course of life that many are on this very second will honestly lead them to an early grave. Not that I mean to scare anyone just for the sake of it, but living a healthy, fit life is not something that comes natural to anyone. If you are currently on the path of least resistance then you may need to consider applying the following 7 essential changes to your life immediately.
-Diet: You can’t always eat junk. If I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted I could probably single handedly finance an entire chain of bacon and cheese french fry establishments. But when I decided to take my health seriously, I knew that my diet was the first thing I had to change. We are literally killing ourselves by what we eat. While it takes some will power to decide to eat right, knowing what to eat shouldn’t be that difficult. Focus on lean protein (grilled chicken, fish), plenty of fruits and veggies, and whole grain carbs.
-Schedule: Make room for exercise, rest, family. This is important for your physical well being as well as your mental well being. We cannot live our lives fully devoted to work, food and sleep. There have to be times when we just let ourselves go for a walk, read a book or just sit outside in the sunlight. Spending time with family is extra important, not only for your sake, but for theirs as well. No one is an island but no one is a robot either. As for exercise…
-Physical activity: Your body NEEDS it. If you’re like me and work a normal desk job, then the temptation is to come home and sit around on your couch after work watching TV or playing video games. This isn’t going to cut it. People weren’t made for such sedentary lifestyles. We were meant to hunt, to roam, to run and play. I’d say that getting regular exercise is THE most essential change we all need in our lives. It helps our bodies and our minds.
-Goals: Making ambiguous targets won’t take you anywhere. Do you have a goal? Specify it. If you want to lose weight, change it to losing X lbs. If you want to be more active, sign up for a race and commit to it. By nature, people just don’t make very good goals. We have to be specific. Otherwise, not only will we never know when we reach our goal, but we’ll likely never really start pursuing it either.
-Initiative: Someday will never be today. Stop telling yourself that you’ll get around to exercising and eating right “someday”. We all know that will never happen. Take the reigns of your life and initiate the change you want to see today. When I first started running I really didn’t want to do it all that much. I just new it was something that I should be doing. So one day after enough postponing and procrastination, I took the first step. I laced up and walked out the door. It wasn’t the smoothest transition but it was a start. Everything needs a starting point.
-Support: Include others in your goals. I’m a very introverted person. I don’t really like to share too much of myself with others. I decided to keep my fitness attempts quiet until people started noticing. However, I believe that this was a mistake. If I had other people to hold me accountable to the things I was committing to who knows what could have happened. Maybe you are already doing this in your life now, but this is definitely a change I need to learn to make in my own life even today.
-Challenge your fears: Don’t resist something just because it scares you. This is huge! So huge, in fact, it is almost a life principle for me now. I tend to be a very conservative person that likes to shy away from things outside my comfort zone. This doesn’t tend to leave much room for personal growth. A few years ago I began forcing myself through those uncomfortable scary things and found the amazing rewards on the other side. Training for a intimidating event or putting yourself in a new place of responsibility can indeed be scary. However, I’m trying to learn from the things that scare me. When I get the sense that something intimidates me, it is usually a sign that is the right thing for me to do.
(photo by GioPhotos)