By Carol Phillips
How much time do you spend each day getting in your own way of making healthy decisions? Often our thoughts are, by far, the biggest roadblocks to living a healthy lifestyle. Our internal dialogue is very powerful and dictates much of how we live our lives, significantly influencing the countless decisions we make every day.
Here are some common unhealthy thoughts that can “trip you up” and some simple suggestions you can use to replace them with positive thoughts and actions:
Problem: I’m too tired to exercise.
Suggestion: I know that even a five-minute walk will make me feel better. All I have to do is put on my sneakers and take the first steps. Doing something is better than doing nothing.
Problem: I’m hopeless when it comes to healthy eating and controlling portions.
Suggestion: I can start by cutting my portions down a little bit and trying one new healthy food each week. I can also buy more of the healthy foods I already enjoy.
Problem: I don’t have the energy to get up an hour early every day to exercise.
Suggestion: I don’t need to keep pressuring myself to do something that isn’t working. I can exercise while I watch TV in the evening or get up 15 minutes early and do a short workout. I can also plan some fun activities with friends that will get all of us moving.
Problem: My stress level is too high. My life is too busy and overwhelming.
Suggestion: I can focus on delegating some chores and saying no to certain activities in order to have more time for myself, without feeling guilty.
Problem: I’m tired of negative people who deplete my energy.
Suggestion: I will take small steps to spend more time with positive, kind people and less time with people who are negative or create unnecessary drama.
Problem: My thoughts are consumed with regrets about past events. It’s driving me crazy.
Suggestion: I can’t change the past, so I may as well not let this continue to affect my life negatively. I’ll spend some time figuring out why I’m struggling to move past these regrets and make a concrete plan to move forward, even if I need to seek professional counseling in order to be successful.
Problem: I don’t sleep well at night and it affects many areas of my life in a negative way. I’m too tired to address this issue.
Suggestion: I know sleep is very important to my overall health. I’m going to take control of this problem by shutting off my phone and computer for at least one hour before I go to bed. I’ll spend that time unwinding and brainstorming the possible causes of my poor sleep, so I can begin to make some healthy changes.
When you begin to recognize the times when you’re thinking negatively and justifying unhealthy choices, the easier it is to learn to pause in that moment and adjust your thinking to move in a more positive and healthy direction. These changes are not likely to happen overnight; however, baby steps will certainly help you start the process of positive thinking and healthier choices. Small changes are better than none. Give yourself a pat on the back with each and every effort to improve your lifestyle!
Carol Phillips is a national health and wellness expert, the award-winning author of 52 Simple Ways to Health, and the radio host of Ask Coach Carol. Her company, Health Design, helps businesses significantly reduce costs and increase productivity by prioritizing health, wellness, and safety practices. Health Design is a SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) Recertification Provider. Based in Manchester, NH, she can be reached through her website at www.HealthDesignNH.com.