Sometimes you wake up and think… this is me? This is my life? It’s all… wrong.
You realize you are not living your best life possible. You might be overweight or you might feel tired all the time. You might hate your job or feel you need to do something adventurous for one. It’s a terrible feeling to feel like you’re not living your best life possible. It’s something that makes you immediately want to change your behaviors and go do something that will make a difference in your life.
How to know when it’s time for a lifestyle change
When you come home from a long work day and break out takeout food, plop on the couch, and don’t move away from the TV again, it’s probably time for a lifestyle change. Then the next day you do the same thing again. There is more to life then this daily grind that leaves you beat and accomplishes little! You’re just trying to get through life and living for the weekend and not living the healthiest best life possible.
Believe me, I know. I’ve been there. I’ve done that for a long time. But I want more out of life!
It’s time for a lifestyle change when the life you’re living doesn’t make you happy.
That’s it! When you are just going through the motions instead of enjoying life and fulfilling your purpose – make a change! It’s something you can do. You don’t have to resign yourself to a life lived less fully.
Other signs you might need a lifestyle change:
- you can’t sleep at night because your mind is overworking
- you have a health crisis because you aren’t taking care of yourself
- you feel overwhelmed with your current life
- you feel like a robot moving through your daily life
- you dream about escaping it all via a vacation or retirement
- you are cranky and irritable with everyone around you
- you lie about your life to others
- you feel anxious all the time
- you talk about making changes all the time but don’t do it
Those are some of the things that you might be suffering from if it’s time for you to make a lifestyle change.
Making Lasting Lifestyle Changes
The American Psychological Association offers some tips on making lifestyle changes that actually last instead of just fizzling out:
Make a plan that will stick. Your plan is a map that will guide you on this journey of change. You can even think of it as an adventure. When making your plan, be specific. Want to exercise more? Detail the time of day when you can take walks and how long you’ll walk. Write everything down, and ask yourself if you’re confident that these activities and goals are realistic for you. If not, start with smaller steps. Post your plan where you’ll most often see it as a reminder.
Start small. After you’ve identified realistic short-term and long-term goals, break down your goals into small, manageable steps that are specifically defined and can be measured. Is your long-term goal to lose 20 pounds within the next five months? A good weekly goal would be to lose one pound a week. If you would like to eat healthier, consider as a goal for the week replacing dessert with a healthier option, like fruit or yogurt. At the end of the week, you’ll feel successful knowing you met your goal.
Change one behavior at a time. Unhealthy behaviors develop over the course of time, so replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones requires time. Many people run into problems when they try to change too much too fast. To improve your success, focus on one goal or change at a time. As new healthy behaviors become a habit, try to add another goal that works toward the overall change you’re striving for.
Involve a buddy. Whether it be a friend, co-worker or family member, someone else on your journey will keep you motivated and accountable. Perhaps it can be someone who will go to the gym with you or someone who is also trying to stop smoking. Talk about what you are doing. Consider joining a support group. Having someone with whom to share your struggles and successes makes the work easier and the mission less intimidating.
Ask for support. Accepting help from those who care about you and will listen strengthens your resilience and commitment. If you feel overwhelmed or unable to meet your goals on your own, consider seeking help from a psychologist. Psychologists are uniquely trained to understand the connection between the mind and body, as well as the factors that promote behavior change. Asking for help doesn’t mean a lifetime of therapy; even just a few sessions can help you examine and set attainable goals or address the emotional issues that may be getting in your way.
Making Your Personal Lifestyle Change Plan
It’s also important to make your own plan once you select the lifestyle change goals that matter most to you. Harvard Health has a great list of 7 ways to make a healthy life change and a variety of resources on how to implement a lifestyle change that will stick. Here are their suggestions for making a lifestyle change plan:
Select a goal. Choose a goal that is the best fit for you. It may not be the first goal you feel you should choose. But you’re much more likely to succeed if you set priorities that are compelling to you and feel attainable at present.
Ask a big question. Do I have a big dream that pairs with my goal? A big dream might be running a marathon or climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, wiggling back into a closet full of clothes you love, cutting back on blood pressure medication, or playing games and sports energetically with your children.
Pick your choice for change. Select a choice that feels like a sure bet. Do you want to eat healthier, stick to exercise, diet more effectively, ease stress? It’s best to concentrate on just one choice at a time.
Commit yourself. Make a written or verbal promise to yourself and one or two supporters you don’t want to let down: your partner or child, a teacher, doctor, boss, or friends. That will encourage you to slog through tough spots. Be explicit about the change you’ve chosen and why it matters to you.
Scout out easy obstacles. Maybe you’d love to try meditating, but can’t imagine having the time to do it. Or perhaps your hopes for eating healthier run aground if you’re hungry when you walk through the door at night, or your kitchen cabinets and refrigerator aren’t well-stocked with healthy foods.
Brainstorm ways to leap over obstacles. Now think about ways to overcome those roadblocks.
Plan a simple reward. Is there a reward you might enjoy for a job well done? For example, if you hit most or all of your marks on planned activities for one week, you’ll treat yourself.
What’s my personal lifestyle change?
Whenever I share inspiration it comes from a place in my own life where I’m hoping to make changes. What exactly about my lifestyle do I want to change? Well, a couple things!
My life has changed drastically over the last five year but I’ve found myself falling into some habits I don’t want to carry over to the next five years. There are many things currently that are amazing in my life (marriage, spiritual life, etc.) but these are a few areas where I want to make changes.
Weight. I gained a ton of weight as a teenager who was very unhappy and unable to cope with a traumatic and abusive home life. This isn’t how I want to live the rest of my life so I’d like to lose weight and be a model example for my daughter. Enter the “lifestyle change” king (or perhaps queen). I am starting my weight loss journey in an attempt to follow in the footsteps of many others who were once where I am and are now happily lighter and healthier. My goal, of course. is to lose weight. I want to wake up every day and think, “I feel amazing, energetic, and strong. Today is going to be so much fun! I can’t wait to do something fun with Penny!”
Find financial freedom. I enjoy my current job but it offers very little flexibility and the financial situation we are in does not allow for much freedom. This is a secondary goal to my health but it’s a huge one in terms of how much our lifestyle will change once we pay off all debt.
There are other things but these are big ones. They are both about being active and being in touch with myself and my surroundings. Being checked in to my life instead of checked out. Most lifestyle changes are all about taking control of your life and making yourself be checked in instead of checking out with distractions.
I hope these inspirations and ideas for lifestyle changes motivate you! It truly is possible to change your life in a variety of ways and live whatever type of life you imagine. The world we live in is full of possibility and we are the luckiest that have ever lived – we have freedom to change and choose the life we want. Go do it and go enjoy it!