What does health have to do with setting goals, you may ask. Well in order to gain the confidence to take action towards your goals you want to feel as good as possible, have as much energy as you need to make changes in your life and just to feel good about yourself in general. So here is my list of living this week.
1. Love yourself and your image right now.
Even if you want to make improvements to your fitness levels, your body weight, to pay more attention to your image, start by honoring the person that you see as you stand in front of a mirror.
If you find this hard to do, repeat each time that you look at your reflection, ‘I am enough’. Soon a change will come over you even if you do nothing else.
2. Decide what steps you are going to take first to improve your health and vitality. Do you want to improve your fitness level? Lose some weight? Gain more energy? Whatever you wish to do remember that your goal starts with a small step and then another and then another.
3.Healthy eating – Change eating habits one mouthful at a time. Make a note of the times when you are most likely to eat food that does not take you towards your goal. Some bad habits are caused by mindless eating. But some bad habits are caused by low energy at certain times of the day. In my case, I crave sugary, sweet things in the late afternoon, especially after a day at work, so I try to eat something which has some sweetness in it to satisfy my cravings. – I never found dieting a good way of altering my body weight. I know what my weaknesses are and when I make bad choices in my eating habits so instead of eliminating food that I know are bad for me, I will eat a generally good diet (fresh vegetables and protein) and then I don’t beat myself up if I lapse and have a chocolate bar. But the more you come to love and value yourself, the better your diet becomes as you get to know what is beneficial to your body.
4. Exercise – many of us do not get enough exercise in life. I am guilty of this having moved from one country to another, I don’t have a fitness plan worked out yet and one of my goals in the next couple of months is to put together a plan to incorporate more exercise into my life. I love how my body feels after I have been exercising, whether I have been for a long walk or been to a dance class. I don’t have a car so I walk everywhere I can, which I love doing. Neither do I have gym membership as I know I would not use it. But I have loved trying various sports in my life, including Tae Kwon Do and Pole Dancing! If you don’t yet do as much exercise as you would like, start small, start with a walk and look around for an activity which makes your heart sing.
5. Sleep – What is the right amount for you? Not to survive but to thrive! If you are deprived of sleep then look at how you can make the situation better. Are you an early riser yet you find yourself going to bed late? I know that after 9pm, I am too sleepy to do anything but read and get ready for bed. I am much better at getting up early to finish tasks than I am trying to stay up late at night to try to complete them.
6. Stress – How high are your stress levels right now? Focus inwards and find out if anything is causing you a high level of stress. I know if I have had money worries or worries about relationships for example, sometimes it is better to face them head on, to question them and come up with a plan to deal with them, rather than to have them linger in the back of your mind. Even low levels of stress can drain our energy which makes setting our goals seem impossible.
7. Mental health – just as we need be aware of treating our bodies well to prevent ill-health, we need to keep our minds healthy and active. There are many tools to help to keep our thoughts positive and healthy and they deserve a list of their own. A good starting point however are mindfulness and meditation. Even just an awareness of the thoughts which cross your mind is a great starting point to becoming more self-aware. We have the power to accept or discard any thoughts that we choose
8. This list has covered a lot of topics and it is not intended that you try all suggestions at once. That would for many of us be overwhelming but if the mood takes you, pick one starting point and go from there. One new haircut or a phone call to the local pool to find out the times of the swimming sessions is a great first step to healthy living.