The first step in making lasting ‘quality-of-life’ improvements is to look at what we can improve in our lives. We need to pick things that we have control over and are realistic to make work. Thinking long term is the key. We should think about slow steady improvements, and avoid quick-fixes that will likely result in rebounding back to what we had before...or worse. Choosing unrealistic goals that are just too difficult to get to will likely wind up in the trash-heap of our personal failures. The Japanese have a saying of ‘Kaizen’ or ‘gradual improvement.’ This is the concept of making gradual improvements every day. This is how we should approach any resolutions we have for ourselves.
Once we have some realistic goals in mind the next step is to put them into practice. If it is a fitness goal, we need to look at the calendar and choose the times in the week that we will do our workouts. This can be especially challenging with heavy or varying schedules, but it is important and it can be done. If it’s a goal related to eating or weight loss, we need to think about making smart food choices, limiting our portions, and eliminating opportunities to cheat. If it’s quitting bad habits, we need to put a plan in place and set a date where that is finished. Whatever the goal is, we need to make it happen because it won’t happen on it’s own.
Endless delay will kill any goal, so we need to start our plan NOW. Don’t say to yourself things like “I’ll start that on Monday” or some other time in the future. To be successful, we need to implement our plan right now. Delaying our plan for some point in the future is probably the most common way to sabotage any progress before we ever get started. Often times, that future point never comes and we just continue with a pattern of delay and procrastination.
Getting support from friends and family in making your goals work is SUPER important. The people close to us should realize that having a healthier, more fit, happier you will also benefit them and everyone else around you. Things like coordinating schedules, setting aside resources, and emotional encouragement are huge in making things happen. Unfortunately, creating a culture of healthy support around yourself sometimes means minimizing time with unsupportive people, and even cutting toxic people out of your life.
What could be more important to improving the quality of our lives? In addition to any fitness or health goals we may have, we should also make a commitment to being calmer, more focused, and happier in our lives. Some simple adjustments that can help a lot are things like getting more sleep, eating healthy, and being more optimistic. It pays to appreciate all of the good things in our lives while improving the things that could be better. Regular meditation and mindful exercise can help tremendously in thinking more positively and adopting a more optimistic point-of-view. Another tip is to view EVERYTHING in your life as an opportunity to practice staying calm and focused under pressure.
So, make a plan and STICK TO IT. Live in the moment and don’t procrastinate or delay actions that will improve the quality of your life and the lives around you. Seek support from family and friends...and don’t forget to support them in return.
Have a healthy and happy New Year!