When you make the decision that you’re going to start eating healthier, do you wait until you have chosen a start date? If you decide that you’re going to exercise more regularly, do you tell yourself that you’re going to start at the beginning of the next month? Why do we do this to ourselves? All we’re doing is delaying something good from happening.
I’m sure most of us have said to ourselves, or said it to a friend or family members, or even heard someone else say it… “I’ll start on Monday”
“I’m going to start running on Monday”
“I’ll start my diet on Monday”
“I won’t be drinking soda starting on Monday”
“Monday I’ll start trying to lose weight”
You get the picture.
The thing is when we start doing this, we tell ourselves it’s ‘okay’ to treat ourselves more than usual because was are starting ‘on Monday’. We also tend to keep pushing that start date back. We treat ourselves and binge so much that it becomes even harder to stop when Monday does roll around. Eventually we push our start date from Monday, to next month, to January 1st!
Why You Shouldn’t Have a “Start Date”
It’s not like we decide to have a healthier lifestyle to punish ourselves… We want to be healthier because we have a goal in mind. We want more energy or we don’t want to have to worry about all the diseases that come with living an unhealthy lifestyle or we want to fit in those jeans that have been in the closet for the last 5 years. So why not just start now? Make the decision to start being healthier and start right now!
By placing a start date, you’re extending the amount of time that you’re going to be living an unhealthy lifestyle. In the time that you’re dreading that start date, you run the risk of intimidating yourself out of it completely. The date will come and go, and you’ll still be as unhealthy as you were when you were feeling good about changing your lifestyle. When you’re feeling good about changing your lifestyle for the better, make the commitment, and get started right away. By the time you get to that same “start day” you were planning, you’ll already be well on your way to a healthier lifestyle.
Why We Shouldn’t Put Off Our Start Date
In the time that you’re waiting, and most likely dreading the start date, there’s a good chance that you’ll want to binge on all of the food that you think you’re going to have to cut out of your diet. You’ll be eating more unhealthy food than you would normally, getting much more calories than you should, and even gain more pounds that you’re just going to have to try and lose again. By waiting, you’re not just delaying your start to a healthier lifestyle, you’re going in the complete opposite direction.
The same goes if ever you think you’ve fallen off the wagon. Don’t just put a new start date in and erase all of the hard work you’ve put into reaching your goals, just learn from the experience and get back on track. A lifestyle choice like this shouldn’t have a specific timeline. It should start right away, and be celebrated every time you reach your goals.
Don’t set a deadline for goals either, because that’s just setting yourself up for feeling like a failure if you don’t meet your goal. Instead, enjoy every step that you take towards reaching your goal, and when you reach it, you’ll be celebrating the fact that you reached your goal, and avoiding the potential downfall of missing a deadline.
How Should I Start?
You can start by setting SMART goals.
SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time based.
By setting goals that are specific, that you can clearly measure your progress, that are realistic and attainable, and have a realistic time lime, you are setting the right kind of foundation for success.
If you have a goal of losing 30 pounds total, break that down into bite sized pieces. Try aiming for 10 pounds in 3 months. Write down your plan and how you will achieve it, and start small habits that will lead to long term success.
You can also use SMART goals to set other personal goals, they don’t have to be health related. You could also set personal goals for work, school, or even hobbies you are interested in like writing, playing an instrument or drawing. If you want to improve in some aspect of your like SMART goals could help.
READ MORE: How to set SMART GOALS
Thinking Through Our Health Goals
It’s important to keep everything realistic. You don’t want to completely change your like ‘on Monday’. You want to form healthy habits that you can stick with for your entire life. Start adding one fruit or veggie to your meal everyday instead of completely overhauling your eating habits over night.
By making small changes you are much more likely to stick to it. If ‘on Monday’ you decide you are no longer drinking soda, eating carbs, and eating junk food… You are much more likely to be setting yourself up for failure instead of cleaning up your diet.
We need to train ourselves to think this way. It’s easier for us to realize we need to make sure we are making smart changes instead of diving in head first.
You can start RIGHT now, instead of setting your start date. Just pick one healthy habit you can start doing today that you know you can keep up for a week, a month, a year, and for life. This is what really will make a difference towards a healthy lifestyle.
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