Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative

So often when we make the decision to change our lifestyles, we tend to zero in on the bad habits.  This is very true when it comes to changing our health for the better.  We decide that we want to eat better, exercise more, and just be healthier in general.  Then we start listing all the unhealthy habits we have.  We snack too much, we count walking from the refrigerator to the couch as exercise, the only cooking we do is pressing the start button on the microwave, etc. etc…. In order to be healthy we have to get rid of all those habits, and the sooner the better.  Right?

Not so much.  When I first decided to be healthier, I had the same mindset.  I took a look at my life and immediately saw all the “bad” things that I did.  I was discouraged and felt the urgent need to change everything as fast as possible.  I got rid of all the junk food in my kitchen, bought new exercise DVD’s, and completely overhauled my lifestyle.  All of this sounds really good and is necessary when trying to be healthier, but it shouldn’t all happen at once.  Sure I had gotten rid of all the “bad” stuff, but I had no idea what to do next.  I had essentially changed my whole world over night and that led to more than a few slip-ups and feeling like being healthier was impossible.

Luckily I learned from my mistakes and found a much better approach to changing my lifestyle.  I slowly began to change things.  I started adding healthier recipes to my weekly rotation.  I experimented with a few new exercise routines to see what I liked best and I could stick with.  This gradual change made it much easier to stick with a healthier lifestyle.  The other thing that really helped me was to focus on the good habits that I already had before I decided to live healthier.  Once I saw that I had already had some good habits, it made it feel like I could actually change for good.

If you have recently made the choice to change your lifestyle, try this approach.  Instead of immediately changing every single bad habit in your life, take a look and find the good things.  Maybe you’re really good at drinking a lot of water, or you have a fairly solid workout routine.  Once you find your good habits, find ways to build on them.  If you’re a really good cook, start incorporating healthier ingredients and recipe into your repertoire.  Soon you’ll have a healthy menu and you’ll feel really accomplished and motivated to keep going.  The important thing to remember is to take it slow.  This increases your chances of sticking to your goal of living a healthier lifestyle.  Once you see all the good things you already do and find ways to expand upon them, being healthy won’t seem like such a daunting and unattainable task.  Each positive thing you do will be another step towards living and feeling great!