For many of us, it’s necessary to make lifestyle changes to achieve ongoing, optimal health and wellness. Change will come easier if you’re dedicated to its purpose. Change takes time. It’s a process that occurs by developing new behaviors and convictions. People who refuse to change remain stagnant. They don’t improve.
For those of us on a destructive dietary path — if we continue to poison our bodies with synthetic, man-made chemical concoctions — if we refuse to choose life-giving wholesome foods — vitality will evade us, and we’ll invite illness and disease into our lives. Sometimes change is desired; sometimes it’s required. There are five facts you should consider as you look to change, expand and improve your dietary path.
1. Dietary change doesn’t happen overnight
When change is rushed and forced, we create undue pressure and obligation. Don’t begin your journey with conflict and tension. Start off by knowing you’ll reach your goal, slowly and steadily. Affirming this removes some of the stress so you can focus on the task at hand more effectively.
Change is a process that starts with consciousness and awareness. Change demands your attention. For those looking to renounce a poor diet and embrace a health‑promoting diet, a change in thinking is necessary to create a change in behavior. This can be challenging after years of sustained behaviors and habits; it’s why you must be self-motivated before you start. Ideally, you should embark on change because you want to be a better you, not because your doctor says to. But regardless of your current state of health, it’s just sensible to seek to improve your diet where you can.
Once committed, over time, your thinking and actions will shift. Naturally, those shifts will be accompanied by a few missteps along the way. Be patient with yourself and give yourself some time to adapt to the changes you’re making in your life. Lifestyle changes should occur slowly and incrementally.
2. Achieving lasting dietary change has its challenges
Let’s face it; change rarely occurs without some discomfort. So, just figure this into the equation. For instance, extra effort is required to incorporate exercise into your life. You have to make the time in your schedule, and if you have a family, you have to work around that.
Like quitting smoking, the need to adjust to a new way of life means accepting that things will no longer be as they once were and accepting that this renewal will be demanding. When you embrace this, there will be fewer surprises and you’ll be prepared to walk on the new path you’re carving out for your life.
3. Patience is important for sustainable dietary change
On the road to change, setbacks may occur. Grant yourself patience. If you indulge in a bacon double cheeseburger, savor it for that moment. But the following day, resume your healthy habits. Take a moment to reflect on why you chose the bacon double cheeseburger. Over time, these lapses will be overshadowed by new, positive habits. Be kind to yourself; focus on continuous improvement. By consistently practicing new behaviors, you’ll naturally replace old habits that no longer align with your well-being.
4. To be effective, dietary change must be a priority
Approach change with laser beam focus and dogged determination.
Don’t start graduate school, salsa lessons and a new blog at the same time you’re making dietary changes. Being healthy requires a daily commitment; and if it’s something you’ve largely ignored in your life, then initially it’ll require a considerable amount of mental focus. If you add in other obligations, you’ll have less time to exercise, plan your meals, shop for fresh wholesome food and prepare healthy meals.
Over time, and as you become increasingly comfortable and familiar with your newfound dietary choices, you can add other activities as your schedule permits. Don’t overwhelm yourself or you’ll become discouraged, and you’ll fail to achieve your health goals.
5. Look to others to inspire your dietary change
Let’s be clear: This journey is yours and yours alone. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t draw inspiration from others. Look around you — at your friends, relatives, co‑workers and acquaintances. Recall instances of people you know of who have made dramatic life‑changing decisions for the better or who are presently on journeys similar to yours. Be inspired by them.
Consider change as a gift. Whenever you make positive changes, you evolve and grow. Changing requires consciousness, will, self-control and discipline. In exchange, you get:
- The freedom to choose.
- The power to abandon old, harmful habits.
- The power to open your mind to new and beneficial ideas.
- The power to take action on your own behalf.
- The capability to work through challenges.
That’s a pretty good tradeoff.
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