At some point, we’ve all wanted to see positive change in one area of our lives or another. If you’re anything like me, it can feel overwhelming to think about everything you’d like to accomplish. In that overwhelmed state, we can easily become victims of “analysis paralysis,” where we end up being so confused about what to do next that we end up doing…well, nothing at all!
We certainly can’t achieve our goals like that!
So what’s the truth when we’re trying to figure out how to make lifestyle changes that stick? What do you do when you feel like every attempt at change in your life has failed and you’re not even sure you want to try again?
First, know that you’re not alone. In a recent Gallup poll about life satisfaction, only 41% of respondents were very satisfied with their current health status. Only 37% were satisfied with their standard of living. No matter what kind of change you want to see, it can happen!
I hope these practical steps and words of encouragement will help you get back on the right track where you finally believe in yourself again, and know that you are worthy & capable of lasting change!
How To Make Lifestyle Changes That Stick: One Step at a Time
If you’re truly wanting a long-term change for the better in your health, then it’s all going to start with a lifestyle and mindset change, rather than doing something temporary like a diet or exercise program.
For centuries, women, and now even men, have been targeted to lose weight fast and become muscular fast. Marketing companies have had all the latest “quick fixes” that you can buy TODAY!
In the end, it doesn’t work, but the problem isn’t you. It’s the lie you’ve been sold that you need something other than what you already possess. Making lifestyle changes that stick isn’t about buying the latest idea, diet, gadget, product, or service.
It’s about changing your relationship with yourself, renewing your mind, and realizing that past failures do not predict future successes.
So what can we do to improve our odds of actually making it this time? Let’s talk!
Start by making a plan
One of the most important steps in making a lifestyle change is to figure out why you want to do it. This helps you stay consistent when it is hard to stick with your goals, especially when setbacks occur.
Everyone’s why is different but yours could be something such as:
- I want to be around and healthy to see my grandchildren grow up
- I want to age gracefully and feel vibrant even in the golden years of my life
- I want to have more energy, feel better in my skin, and feel confident that I can do anything
- I want to have more energy so that I can serve others better
No matter what your reason for choosing change is, put it on a post-it note, as your phone screensaver, or anywhere you can refer to when the going gets tough. Also, be aware that your why will probably expand or change as time goes on.
That’s a great sign of growth! Congratulations!
S.M.A.R.T. goals help prevent overwhelm
You may be familiar with that old saying, “I’ve bit off more than I can chew.” If you’re not, this basically means, “Uh oh, I can’t possibly finish all of this, fix this, or complete this. It’s too much.”
That’s exactly what S.M.A.R.T. goals help us to avoid. Organized planning and goal-setting remove the excuses so all that’s left is the truth; you don’t have to settle for less than your best anymore.
- If you want to eat healthily but you tend to eat out because you’re too tired to cook, try batch cooking. It’s a money & time saver! Plus, you are in charge of your diet!
- If you want to move forward in your life or business but you feel stuck and unsure what to do next, consider connecting with someone like my sister Kathleen at Christ-Centered Success Coaching. She helps women every day feel empowered to fight fear and find God’s voice.
- If you are unhappy in your job and desperately want a change, consider FREE training mini-courses online that will help you explore new ventures and pinpoint your calling
- Not a fan of getting exercise? Maybe you just haven’t found the right kind for you! Don’t be afraid to try out different styles and switch them up when a little change is needed. Try something like growwithjo on YouTube. You don’t need equipment, she has workouts for all levels of fitness, and she has Gospel music workouts, which I love!
It’s never too late and it’s never too hard. Yes, it will take effort, and yes, some days won’t feel worth it but anyone who has had success in anything will tell you, “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Whatever your goal is, don’t allow feelings of discouragement to keep you from moving forward. If you miss the mark, dust off, get up, grab that cuppa something yummy, and let’s try again!
Go one step at a time
A lifestyle change isn’t a race; you need to go slow and steady. Trying to change too many habits at once can be overwhelming. Start by identifying which unhealthy behaviors you want to stop or start doing differently, and then focus on making one small behavior change at a time.
For example, instead of saying “no more sweets,” start by replacing processed sugary foods with natural ingredients like fruit or whole grains. As you begin to implement new healthy behaviors, celebrate each success. This will help you maintain positive motivation.
Science has proven that as we celebrate the small wins in our lives, we reinforce the good behaviors by getting a shot of dopamine into our brains, which is a feelin’ good kind of hormone.
Bigger, long-term goals are good for us, but most importantly, don’t forget about the smaller, daily consistencies that can help you see you ARE making progress in the right direction.
You need to take action immediately
Whether you’re needing Medical Weight Loss Solutions or you’re just looking into small changes for the better, you’ll have to start taking action immediately. You can’t just say to yourself, “Oh, there’s tomorrow’ you’ll need to start today, and you can start today.
It’s also helpful to remember that any positive changes we hope to see in our lives are the result of daily right choices that lead to healthy lifelong behaviors, not one-time events.
If you’d rather think about doing something than actually do it, do some digging into why you procrastinate. The reason you put off for tomorrow what can be done today might surprise you!
Anxiety, low self-worth/esteem, difficulty with time management, and perfectionistic tendencies; these are all some examples of why we choose procrastination.
In fact, when setting goals, overcoming this bad habit might be a good place to start! Don’t feel bad; I struggle with this one too! 🙋🏻♀️
Motivation isn’t enough
“If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run, then walk, if you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
There are days when I don’t want to do what I know I need to do. In those moments I pray a simple and quick prayer, “Holy Spirit, give me the strength.” He promised that HIS strength is made perfect in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9) We were never designed to carry life’s burdens on our own or to accomplish everything with our own strength.
That limitation is there for a reason; to point us to a God who is limitless.
There will be days when you can hardly contain your excitement for all the changes you see and feel. Your motivation will be high and you’ll feel like you can take on the world.
As sure as those days, you’ll also have times when you feel defeated, unmotivated, lacking, and as if you’ll never get to where you want to go.
Feelings are fickle and they lie to you ALL the time, remember that!
In the words of Martin Luther King Jr, “keep moving forward.” If all you’ve got is a baby step forward, that’s okay! It’s still a step forward — not backwards! Beloved, that’s good enough and so are you!
Loving yourself through the lessons
I’ve got a question for you. How hard are you on yourself when you don’t live up to the goal you set?
If you beat yourself up, may I offer you an alternative way of looking at things? In life, we often learn what we do like by discovering first what we don’t like. Similarly, we learn what does work after a failed attempt at trying what didn’t work.
Bad relationships may teach us what kind of behaviors we will or won’t accept in the future. As we cook or try new foods, we have a clear idea of what flavors we love and what we think is gross. Maybe you tried a job and realized you just weren’t any good at it or hated every moment you had to do it.
In each of these examples, we learn valuable lessons by trying and failing, or simply trying and discovering, “That’s just not for me.”
Being hard on yourself while you’re in the discovery phase will only discourage you, distract you, and lead you right back to the bad habits you’re working to overcome. It’s a vicious circle.
Talk to you like you would a best friend. Literally, say out loud what you hear yourself saying internally. As you do, you will expose that lie to the light of truth. Really listen to what you’re saying about yourself. Then ask the question, “What would I say to my best friend if they said this about themselves?”
Then, encourage yourself. Be your own friend. Better yet, if you are willing, ask the Lord to encourage your heart. Ask Him to show you who He says you are and remind you of your value.
Learning how to make lifestyle changes that stick is far more about changing our mindsets than it is about setting the actual goal. With the wrong ways of thinking, we cripple ourselves for the battle ahead.
Making lifestyle changes that actually stick means choosing goals you can stick with, celebrating the little wins along the way, learning from what didn’t go so well, and remembering that every step in the right direction matters – even when they’re tiny ones!
There will be ups and downs, twists and turns, along the way. One thing is for sure; consistency builds character; our character influences our choices, and our choices build habits.
You don’t have to settle for anything less than one day standing in the victory you prayed for days, weeks, or months before.
My prayer for you:
Loving Lord, I pray that you would touch my friend’s mind and heart right now. I ask that you would reveal their true identity to them. Peel away any false identities that are keeping them stuck in patterns that you never created them to live in.
Father, reveal your love to them in new and fresh ways when they are tempted to beat themselves up for not meeting the goals and milestones they set for themselves. Help them to believe again, live again, and rise up in the victory that only you can give.
Thank you, Lord, for your lovingkindness towards us. Thank you for meeting my friend right where they are and helping them to move forward in the new thing you’re doing in their lives.
In Jesus’ name, Amen!
Love & Blessings Always,