We often aim to change ourselves and our habits in one clean sweep, an unrealistic aim that can set us on the path to disappointment.
Taking a more balanced, holistic approach will help you to make gradual changes and set yourself on a harmonious and healthy path. Here are a few ideas to help you decide what positive changes you are seeking in your life and how to go about making them happen.
Take care of yourself and be positive
Instead of fixed goals that focus on the negative, try to focus on positive changes. For example, instead of a goal to lose a certain amount of weight, try making a positive decision to try some new healthy recipes using plenty of vegetables.
It’s also important to reflect on what you are already feeling positive about in your life, perhaps by writing a list of past achievements or a gratitude list. Boosting your self-esteem in this way can help you to recognise you deserve to take time to care for yourself and your wellbeing.
Take responsibility – take control
In our busy lives, it can be tempting to equate looking after ourselves with treating ourselves, perhaps with unhealthy food or habits. But true self-care involves focusing on the bigger picture and taking responsibility for our own overall mental and physical health.
Writing can be a powerful tool when it comes to working out what we want and how to get there. One interesting idea is to write a letter from your future self in which you describe how your life looks in one year’s time and outline the steps you took to make it happen, for example by taking a new exercise class, learning a new skill or giving up an unhealthy habit.
Focus on the whole picture
It is becoming increasingly apparent that our current lifestyle-related medical conditions and mental health problems require a new holistic approach to nutrition, exercise and rest. Integrative health practitioner Dr. Rangan Chatterjee describes four ‘pillars’ underpinning good health and wellbeing - sleep, rest, food and movement.
So when you set your intentions, try not to focus all your attention on one thing, such as weight management or breaking a bad habit you want to quit, but instead consider what changes you would like to make in each of these key areas. Doing this will help you to create a positive, inspiring and realistic plan for lasting change.
Achieving lasting balance takes time, reflection and consideration. You are more likely to reach your goals if you break them down into small steps and regularly take time to look back at what you have already achieved.
What top tips do you have for making lasting, positive change?
Guest post by Imogen Emms, Editor at Amchara Health