Are your health goals already drifting?
Q: After making grandiose goals formy health this year, I am already finding it hard to stick withmy new health and wellness habits. I tend to be a bit all or nothing. How can I get more willpower? Thanks, Felicity
A: Most of the time, it’s not a lack of education that stops people from doing the things they should to look after themselves. We all know that working 14-hour days, drinking too much coffee and not eating enough vegetables is not going to result in our healthiest self, but often times we do it anyway.
The reality is, if you try to change everything at once, you’re far more likely to give everything up as too hard.
For example, if you know that you’re someone who needs to stop drinking so much coffee, cut back one at a time before switching to green tea for a period of time. Look for easy, more nourishing foods to swap in for those that are less nourishing. Set yourself a challenge to be in bed at 10pm at least two nights a week and then work your way up to five.
If you want to cut down your screen time, challenge yourself to have a digital detox evening one night a week and then try for another. If you go out for dinner look for a restaurant that offers more nourishing food choices if you can. And do the things you know you need to do one at a time.
Perhaps set up a schedule (if that’s something that works for you) where every week (or two, or every month) you add another wellness practice to your daily routine so that by the end of the year, you’ve made a number of changes that will radically change the way you look after yourself.
And also remember, it’s what you do the majority of the time that affects your health, not some of the time so be gentle with yourself for those occasional not as nourishing choices.
It’s common to view health and wellness changes as black and white, but this is often what causes people to fall off the wagon – they’re all in or they’re well and truly all out! But real life happens in the grey. It is daily habits and choices that will get you closer to your health and wellness goals, not having more ‘‘willpower’’ – there is no wagon to actually fall off.
TIP TO GET STARTED
If nourishing yourself with whole food is a challenge: Make yourself a green smoothie at the beginning of the day to take to work. Fill it with loads of leafy greens and top it up with a scoop of powdered vegetables for an additional boost.
If you know you drink too much alcohol: Start with two alcohol-free days a week. Next time you go to an event where free alcohol is on offer, challenge yourself to opt for sparkling water instead. Remember that just because something is there doesn’t mean you have to consume it!
If you’re a workaholic: Sometimes we have deadlines that mean we have to work additional hours, other times it’s our own perception of urgency that drives us to work 14-hour days that impact on our sleep cycle and enjoyment of life. Check what this means for you.
Dr Libby is a nutritional biochemist, best-selling author and speaker. The advice contained in this column is not intended to be a substitute for direct, personalised advice from a health professional. Visit drlibby.com.
Start making small changes to reach your goal.