To this point, we’ve covered the first three steps to consider when beginning a health journey. Today, it’s time to actually take that first step and take action!
It can be very overwhelming embarking on a health journey, even if you’ve made the decision and have a wonderful support system in place. This is the reason why I recommend finding one area within your goal to focus on as you get started. That way, you can chip away at your goal bit by bit, focusing on one area at a time, and before you know it, the goal will be complete! You wouldn’t walk into a gym having never exercised and say, “I’m going to squat 200 pounds today!” That would be silly! Instead, you would first master the bodyweight squat, and then add 10, 15, 20 pounds and progress your way up to your goal.
Typically with a health journey, we need to focus in on an overarching category such as sleep, nutrition, or exercise. While these are still very broad categories, it’s the best starting point. Once you have decided which broad category you plan to attack first, it’s to dive a little bit deeper and pick one change to start with. Tell yourself it’s only one simple change at a time – totally manageable!
For instance, if you decide to focus on nutrition first, instead of thinking about all of the foods you’ll need to eliminate and get caught up in what you “can’t” eat, try focusing just on one meal per day – perhaps breakfast. Every day for a week, focus solely on making breakfast PFC balanced and super healthy with a ton of protein and healthy fat. The other meals can be healthy too, but they aren’t the priority right away- breakfast is. Once you have that meal down and it becomes part of your routine, then you can move to the other meals.
Or also with nutrition, you might decide to increase your vegetable intake each day to 5 servings. Nothing else will change except that you are adding in more vegetables. Once you have that down, you can focus on other aspects like removing added sugar, grains, vegetable oils, etc.
On the other hand, you might start with exercise as your main overarching category, but keep the first step manageable by only starting with exercising 3 times per week for a couple of weeks. Even if your ultimate goal is 5 times per week, start with 3 and make sure you are consistent with it before you increase it to 4 and then eventually 5.
Or alongside of exercise, you might make it even simpler by making it your goal to just go to the gym 3 times per week for 20-30 minutes. It doesn’t matter what you do, but simply taking time out of your schedule to physically walk in the gym, do something active for 30 minutes or so, and then be on your merry way. Before you know it, that 30 minutes will stretch to 45 or 60!
Sleep is another huge category that many of us need to focus on when starting a health journey. A simple first step to help you get started might be implementing a rule during the week that you have to be in bed by 10pm. Even if you read in bed for a little while longer, setting the goal to at least be physically laying in your bed by 10pm is a great starting point! From there, you can establish a sleep routine, cut out electronics 30-60 minutes before bed, or buy blackout curtains for your bedroom.
No matter which category you choose to focus on (sleep, exercise, nutrition, stress, relationships, mindfulness, etc), the most important part is that you pick one simple step to get you started. Work on perfecting that step before you add another one in so that the first step becomes habitual and that the overwhelming process becomes simplified. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your health journey won’t be over in a day either. Break it down into incremental, manageable steps, and I promise you that it will be much more attainable!
The last installment of this series on a getting started on a health journey will discuss setting a timeline to ensure you stay on track while on your health journey. Stay tuned!