Your road map to making sustainable lifestyle changes by focusing on your:
Think of your values as priorities. Before making any changes in your life, you need to understand your values. The importance of this is demonstrated later under socials. Your values can be identified through the way you live your life. You make time & get energized for the things you value and tend to procrastinate when faced with activities you don’t value.
Once you have identified your values, you can work on placing higher values on the areas of your life that you wish to improve. Placing a value on your health, for example, gives you that intrinsic motivation to continue working toward your goals. To place a higher value on your health, write down 200 reasons why improving your health benefits you and those around you.
To make sustainable changes in your life, specifically with your health, you need to focus more on shifting your entire lifestyle than solely on your eating and exercise habits. Focussing on shifting your lifestyle allows your everyday activities to be congruent with your health goals, so you can design your days in a way that gives you the best chance of achieving them. This means swapping activities that are detrimental to your health for more beneficial ones.
For example, if you are accustomed to having mid-week drinks with work colleagues and with friends on the weekend, this does not align with or support your goals of improving your health. If your friends easily influence you, a better option is to stop attending these activities to avoid giving in to having ‘just one drink’. Rather organize a different activity to catch up with your friends. For example, I love cooking, so I often have my friends and family over for dinner instead of meeting at a bar.
The great thing about shifting your lifestyle habits is that you can explore new hobbies and interests, allowing you to do the things you have always said you wanted to do but always manage to convince yourself you can’t.
This is easier said than done; breaking habitual routines with friends will no doubt be met with resistance and challenge from them. You will be told you are boring and to get over it; it’s not the first time you have tried, and you might as well give up now. If you find this confrontation difficult to respond to, you can avoid it entirely and address their “concerns” when it suits you best and when you are most confident/comfortable to talk about it.
It’s important to be as clear and concise as you can when confronted about your shift in lifestyle. This emphasizes the importance of values in this exercise. You can confidently respond if you truly understand why you made the shift—being confident and clear in your explanation results in less challenging responses and more genuine interest.
There’s no doubt that your shift in lifestyle will cause you to grow as a person, which is extremely noticeable for the people you surround yourself with. One of the most rewarding elements of shifting your lifestyle is the more consistent you are, the less challenge you receive. If you maintain it for long enough, there’s a high chance the same people challenging you will ask you for help and advice later down the line.
Your closest friends will stick with you regardless of how you choose to live your life, and you will realize that certain people will slowly fade out of your life because the only time you saw them was on occasions that you have now rightfully chosen to exclude from your improved lifestyle. You will also meet new people on the journey of shifting your lifestyle, people who share similar values and are more aligned with your new way of life. 6-12 months down the line, you might find yourself spending time with a completely different group of people. Who knows what possibilities could arise from this?