Getting Started on a Health Journey: Step 5
We are officially at the end of this five part series on starting a health journey. So far, we covered making the decision, evaluating yourself, building a support network, and making one simple change. Today, it’s time for the final step – setting a timeline to help you achieve your goal(s) in a timely manner!
We live in a society where when we want something, we want it 2 hours ago. We seek immediate gratification and results in a world that doesn’t offer them. However, patience and waiting and putting in the hard work are the difficult realities that we must face if we ever do want to achieve our goals.
Alongside of patience and waiting involves setting up a realistic timeline for you to achieve your health goals. Setting the goal of transforming your nutrition and losing 15 pounds in one week isn’t realistic or doable. You are setting yourself up for failure! But, that same goal could be achieved in three months at a healthier and more realistic pace. It can be hard to step outside of yourself and set a truly objective timeline, but it is important if you want to ensure that you will eventually reach your goal.
The other important aspect of setting a timeline is the accountability aspect. Like we talked about in step one, you must actively make the decision to start a health journey. In this same way, you must make the decision to hold yourself to an end point with your goal.
Setting an end point also allows you to fill in the space between the start and finish with smaller, micro check-points. Just like we talked about starting with one change at a time, these mini steps will align with your timeline in particular increments that will lead up to your end point for your goal.
What’s more is that you can share with your support network about the timeline you have set for you health journey so that they can help you check in with yourself and hold you accountable!
Now it's time to make this goal a reality by putting these steps into practice. Imagine that your goal when starting your health journey is to transform your diet to one a paleo, real food approach in order to correct some lingering digestive issues, headaches, and sugar cravings. Let’s walk through the five step process!
Step 1: Make the decision to start eating healthier requires that you are going to have some difficult changes ahead of you. But, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t impossible! So, you start by writing down all of the reasons why you want to make this transformation. This list includes reducing sugar cravings, losing a bit of weight and bloat, getting rid of the 3pm energy crash, eliminating your weekly migraines, and sleeping better at night. Then, you post this list where you can see if often to remind yourself why you are starting on this journey.
Step 2: Next, you evaluate your current situation by keeping a food diary for five days. This allows you to see what you are currently eating so that you can pinpoint where exactly you want to start making some small changes. This is also the point when you evaluate yourself. Are you the type of person who will do best with super slow progress or one that can make a few changes at a time? Have you been down this road before and failed? What caused you to fail, and how can you avoid it this time? Ask and answer these questions for yourself to help you ensure success on your health journey.
Step 3: Now it’s time to gather the troops! Evaluate the people you are around the most and seek out those that you feel will be helpful for you on this journey and those that might hinder you. In this case, you might seek out a health coach or holistic based nutritionist to help you along your journey.
Step 4: For your one change to start with, you decide to eliminate the two Cokes you drink each day and replace them with lemon water. You focus solely on this first step for the first week and then turn your attention to other factors in the subsequent weeks, changing your breakfast, vegetable intake, and sugar intake.
Step 5: Last but not last, since it is currently June, and you decide that you would like to complete this transformation by the end of the year, giving yourself seven full months to make this dream a reality! You establish four main checkpoints within the timeline to help you stay on track throughout the course of the seven months. First, by the end of July, you decide to be completely off of all soda and drinking mainly water and tea. Second, by the end of September, you decide that you daily vegetable intake will be a minimum of five servings per day. Third, by the end of October, two of the three main meals each day will be composed of all real food without any processed foods or added sugars. And finally by the end of November, you chose to have eliminated all grains and dairy from your diet coinciding with the precepts of a Paleo template. Then, you just have one final month to make any final changes and modifications before the end of the year hits!
Like I’ve mentioned previously, starting a health journey (no matter what the end goal or outcome!) is overwhelming and daunting. However, by breaking that journey down into manageable steps that you know you can achieve, you are ensuring that you will succeed! Making the decision to get started, evaluating your current situation and yourself, building a support network, implementing simple changes, and establishing a timeline are the five steps that will help you achieve that goal in the best way possible.
Now it’s your turn – what is your health goal? What health journey is it time that you embark on? Take yourself through the five steps one at a time – you can and will achieve this goal!