There are many reasons why people want to (or are forced to) make a lifestyle change. It may be a change necessary regarding health concerns or regarding the way they perceive themselves. Or just because they want to be a better person with better habits. It also, actually, isn’t really anyone’s business why a person decides to undergo a lifestyle change.

 

But the problem with making a lifestyle change is that it’s difficult and, generally, people aren’t always able to maintain the changes they wish to make. But that’s the problem with instant gratification. A term that describes the “now” times we currently live in. A term that has overrun the concept of “good things come to those who wait”.

 

Why wait when practically everything people want in life, they can get if they show up and have the money for it.

 

So, for those who desperately want to make a lifestyle change, here’s the right way to do it.

 

Plan

Everything should have a detailed and outlined plan behind it if it’s meant to be successful. And this isn’t meant to be a superficial plan. This is for yourself to keep you on track and break down exactly what you want to get out of these lifestyle adjustments.

The plan should be realistic with regards to possibility, time period, financial support and honesty with yourself. After putting this plan together, make sure it doesn’t get placed in the drawer and forgotten about as you attempt to change your life. No, it goes up on the wall, on your mirror, above your bed or wherever you will see it everyday. It will serve as a reminder and motivator to keep pushing to see or feel the change you’re longing for.

 

Bite-sized goals

So, your plan has your end goals and provides the general means of achieving it. Let’s say getting more involved with your community is your end goal (lifestyle change) and signing up with local charities, organisations and committees are the means. It’s time to further break that down into bite-sized goals of what you need to do. Something that can help you measure your progress towards your end goal.

Step one would be to research these local institutions. Step two would be to decide on one or a few. Step three would be to consider how you would like to get involved and how frequently you’d like to be involved. Step four would be to contact and step five would be to sign up and work from there. And all the steps are done over a short or long period of time according to your plan.

But it’s important to start small otherwise the end goal is just going to be a daunting and seemingly unreachable task. It’s also a way for you to see that changes are, indeed, achievable when you just get started and break the end goal down.   

 

One at a time

A lifestyle change is usually an adjustment in more than one area of someone’s life. It’s not always just regular exercise or simply participating in society. And besides not knowing how to reach a goal without breaking it into bite-sized goals, thinking that you have to tackle each goal at the same time is another way to demotivate and overwhelm yourself.

So, it’s important to work on one change at a time. Not only will it be more realistic and manageable, but it will probably be healthier for the mind and body as well. Introducing intense, regular exercise and a complete diet change is likely to make one sick if it happens all at once. It’s a shock to the system that will lead you to quit before you can enjoy the results. And that’s not what we want. So, bite-sized and one at a time, got it?

 

Motivation

The right way to make a lifestyle change needs all the motivation you can find. If it’s motivational Pinterest quotes, a lifestyle-buddy or a rewards system, do it.

You would also need to learn through disappointment and slipping up instead of just giving up. Humans are flawed by default and it’s not easy transitioning through a lifestyle change. There will be rough patches before it’s smooth sailing where a cheat day won’t affect you as much as it may have in the past.

If you need “lifestyle aids” to keep you motivated and focused, then use them. Set a reminder to follow up with Doctors Without Borders for the donators interview, buy a new water bottle to encourage you to use it and drink more water, or grow a herb and vegetable garden to encourage you to eat organic and healthily. Whatever you need to do.

 

Keep track

Keeping track of your progress is another way to stay motivated, but it’s so important that it deserves its own heading. There’s nothing like physically documenting your progress towards a goal and noticing the small changes in your appearance, bank account, good-person-vibes and general happiness.

And it’s not only about ticking things off your to-do-list, but also about journaling the experience for yourself to reflect on at a later time. To take yourself back to where you were a few months ago and realise how much you have changed. That’s how you make a lifestyle change the right way.

About The Author

I was born in the Eastern Cape, close to the waves. After getting my degree in Media, Communication and Culture, I knew it was time to make my way to a big city. Not wanting to leave the ocean, Cape Town was the natural choice for me. At first I thought the fast paced world of marketing. But I never forgot that what I'd always wanted to do was write. Now I'm a freelance writer, where my office is my bedroom and my platform is the World Wide Web. I live with my partner and our two beloved Great Danes. When not reading or writing you can probably find me on the beach or exploring nature trails.

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