Gina Bella January 16, 2018

Whether it’s the coming of the New Year, another birthday rolling around, or even that random spark of energy you get when spring rolls around, at some point or another everyone has felt the urge to take on a healthier lifestyle. It’s a noble goal, but it’s one that most people have a hard time maintaining. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help make a lasting change in your approach to personal health and wellness.

Find Your Balance

If there’s one thing about being healthy that a lot of us struggle with, it’s consistency. Whether we’ve committed to losing that holiday weight or being more physically active, we tend to overextend ourselves in the hope we’ll see results more quickly, but we can’t sustain the pace. Not only is it discouraging to regularly miss your goals because you’ve just set the bar too high, but your focus shouldn’t be on the fastest possible results so much as balanced lifestyle changes.

Let’s take the example of losing (and keeping off) weight. While most of us know hitting the gym every day and eating a strictly nutritious diet is the fastest route to ripped (or at least being healthier), but that’s not sustainable or even desirable for the vast majority of us. Most people in the world need a more balanced lifestyle that allows them to eat the foods they love, but with more than 60 percent of the U.S. population consuming more sugar and saturated fat than recommended according to the Department of Health, it’s clear that most of us could tolerate more balance in the direction of health, too.

Since consistency is key in maintaining a healthier lifestyle, you need to find a balance between the habits you have now and the lifestyle changes you’re trying to incorporate.

Acknowledge Your Roadblocks

Let’s face it — we all have imperfections and certain challenges we need to overcome, and a lot of us also have a tendency to beat ourselves up about it, even though that’s a highly destructive behavior. Instead, you should confront your roadblocks head-on and learn to work with them rather than against them.

An excellent example is with managing finances; according to Nasdaq, the average American household has approximately $139,500 in total debt, including car payments, mortgages, credit cards, and so on. As you can imagine, a figure like that might seem insurmountable, but if you acknowledge your personal roadblocks, you can come up with an effective plan to get out of debt. You may be surprised to find that your primary pain point isn’t how much money you spend each month, but how much you are paying in interest, for instance, making a simple balance transfer a viable option to get out of debt more quickly.

Learning to acknowledge and effectively analyze your roadblocks — without all the guilt, frustration, and discouragement — is key to taking on a healthier lifestyle. Not only will it benefit your mental and emotional health, but it will also help you overcome the inevitable challenges that happen along the way.

See What Small Steps You Can Take

We all have our vices, and frankly — life’s too short not to, right? Nevertheless, there are probably small changes you could make to some of those nasty little habits to move your health in the right direction. This could be something as small as replacing one can of soda each day with a glass of water, or it could be something that will have an even bigger impact on your health, like quitting smoking.

I know what you’re thinking — quitting smoking isn’t a small step! — but I’m not talking about giving up your nicotine fix altogether. Instead, consider the smaller step of joining the estimated 9 million people who have started vaping, which can help you transition away from traditional smoking and ultimately quit altogether. Although vaping doesn’t remove nicotine or the harmful components of inhaling something entirely, it does give people an alternative that puts them on the path to quitting for good, especially with smaller vape products like Juul on the market, which more closely resemble cigarettes.

While the small steps you start taking today may not seem like they will become the catalyst to a major lifestyle change, you have to start somewhere!

Building a healthy lifestyle takes time and effort, but it comes with the benefit of being able to look at yourself every day and see yourself a little healthier than the day before. Which begs the question: when are you getting started?