10 Tools for Making a Positive Change In Your Health
Give yourself plenty of time to prepare, and know that any day is the perfect day to make a positive change.
There are literally hundreds of things you could do, and thousands of resources out there telling how to overhaul your diet and or lifestyle. Many folks feel like the “all in” approach is the only way they can make this work and they have difficulty taking baby steps because they have not made a plan. Remember, it may have taken you years to get where you are now. It may take another year to get you back into balance, so patience and small steps are really the key practice.
Here are some of my tried and true tips that I give to my patients about changing their health plans and staying on course:
- Set some short and long term goals. 1, 3, 6 and 12 month health goals are a great benchmark strategy to keep you on track and not so overwhelmed.
- Write down your motivation for making this change in the first place. Keep this in a place where you see it regularly (on the fridge or the bathroom mirror is a useful spot).
- Try not to make all of your goals or changes about food. This can really draw a bitter wedge between yourself and food happiness. Health encompasses nutrition (obviously) and also community, spiritual practice, your emotional state, your job, your hobbies, your family, your sleep/dream time and exercise/movement. Pick a few extra areas here to focus on and make some positive changes and goals for each.
- Make sure you have resources to make your goals attainable such as food markets that sell appropriate foods for you, parks, gyms or yoga studios you feel comfortable with, available practitioners/nutritionist/health coaches/doctors to guide you through areas you are not familiar with, and books or website that you can count on for credible information.
- Find an accountability partner to either go through this change with you or someone to check in on you to hold you accountable and keep you on track.
- Find daily inspiration to keep you motivated. This can be pictures of joyful things, blogs that really inspire you, really delicious recipes that you keep on hand or mantras every day to repeat to yourself.
- Start small. Take one step at a time or one step every month to focus on. Really get comfortable with one major change before you move on to another. For example, if one of your long term goals is eliminating sugar, try this for one month and really focus on this task before taking on your other long term goal of also going gluten free. Taking on too much can be extremely discouraging if you don’t have the time, resources or will power to get yourself through. The next month you can take on starting a weekly yoga practice or joining that meet up group you’ve been eying.
- Plan it out. Look at your calendar and set a start date. You may have already come up with a great plan, set your goals and stocked your pantry…and if it’s right before the holidays and you feel like you’re going to struggle right from the get go, maybe start at a more appropriate time. It’s OK to wait until you feel completely ready to make the commitment.
- Focus on things that are going well, not what you are doing without. It’s really easy for folks to lament the discontinuation of 2 hours of couch time at night or sugary pastries or even the hourly cigarettes. Make a point every day to take note of what’s going really well and be grateful for the little things (like the beautiful weather, the project at work that went surprisingly well or the beautiful family you come home to every night)
- Ask for help when you’re struggling. I always tell my patient to contact me immediately when they feel like they’re sinking or feeling discouraged. Breaking habits and making new habits is no small task, and it’s completely normal to feel lost and overwhelmed and ready to throw in the towel. It’s at these times when you need people to cheer for you, throw some extra inspiration your way and keep you on track. It’s also helpful to have an honest look at your goals and make sure they’re reasonable and change them if you need to.
If you are interested in beginning your journey towards positive change, please contact our office at (804) 977-2634.
About the Author
Lindsay Kluge is a Clinical Herbalist & Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist and received her Masters of Science degree in Herbal Medicine from the Maryland University of Integrative Health in 2012. She has been with Richmond Natural Medicine since 2013, and specializes in therapeutic holistic nutrition, circadian rhythm balance and sleep physiology, digestion, and Ayurvedic nutrition. She offers individualized nutrition and herbal medicine consultations that include meal planning support, custom compounded herbal formulas, nutrition guidance and general wellness support. Learn more about services that Lindsay offers at Richmond Natural Medicine by clicking HERE.