Staying Focused on Your Health Goals
Posted on 04 January 2016 by Leonie Satori
Just one week into the new year and some of us may already be faltering with our health goals for the year. As a Naturopath and a human one at that, I understand that holding your ground and sticking to your beliefs can be a challenge when you are forging a healthier new path. In this brief article I will be discussing some of the most common problems that I have come across personally and in consultation in my clinic when working towards health goals.
Giving up too early after minor setbacks
Probably one of the easiest excuses around is to just give up after only a small hurdle is presented. If you have set yourself a health goal, say avoiding a particular unhealthy food, and then you indulge a little, then this is not an excuse to give up on your original health goal. It is always good to remember that even the most motivated and determined person will have minor setbacks on the way to achieving their health goals. Use these experiences to learn more and improve on your methods. Read on to find some ways to help you to never give up on your health goals.
Being persuaded by friends
One of the most challenging times can be when you are with friends or family who encourage you to deviate from your health goals. “Just a little bit won't hurt you” is a classic line that well-meaning family members may present you with. While it can be difficult to help others to understand that you are trying to change your habits, it is always beneficial to explain to friends or family why you have chosen to set yourself a health goal. Good friends and loving family members should respect and encourage you to work on improving your health; you may be surprised at the people who will be inspired to set some of their own health goals. If you find that your explanations for making healthier choices with your life and your personal health goals are not sufficient for family or friends, it is often then best to politely decline their offer; learning to say 'no thanks' in social settings is an important step towards reaching your health goal too.
Being influenced by others in your home
So commonly I see people who are strong in their convictions and working towards their health goals who give in to temptation when other family members or flatmates have some not so healthy 'treats' on offer to share in the home. This situation needs to be addressed in a way that allows you to set your own personal boundaries without pushing your expectations onto those who share your home and fridge. Again, it is important for others to understand what you are doing and why you have set yourself a health goal. Explaining this to your family or your flatmates can not only help you to cement your beliefs, but can alleviate any future social pressures in the home too. A method that I have found quite effective in most households is to set a boundary or a no-go zone for certain foods. This doesn't need to be a physical boundary, more of an agreement – maybe the top shelf in the fridge can only have healthy food and then all undesirable (and potentially tempting) foods have an allocated area in the fridge or pantry cupboard which is the agreed area that you are not permitted to access any of the food or drinks.
Not setting up a support network
Setting yourself new year health goals can be daunting if you do not have others that can help you and encourage you when you are faced with challenging situations on your journey. A support network can include anything from a healthy and inspiring recipe book that you reference regularly to a friend who has similar health goals to yourself. Of course, support for your health goals can be found with your Naturopath or counsellor and searching online for support groups or forums can be beneficial for encouragement also. The more people that you have around you that are aware of your health goals, the more accountable you are for your actions and also the easier it will become for you to stay true to your convictions.
Losing sight of the goal
It can be easy to lose sight of the original reason for setting up a new health regime, it may be to help treat or prevent a certain medical condition, or to help lose weight or to help you to reduce your prescription medication or so that you can feel younger, healthier or fitter. Whatever your original reason for changing your old health habits, keep a track of your progress, you may want to write a journal, have a daily affirmation or write notes on your calender.
Making changes and forging a healthier path for yourself is challenging, and you may be presented with some different issues to the ones that are addressed in this article, however with each attempt and hurdle, there is a lesson to be learned. Remember that what we focus on is what we will achieve. This can help us to channel more of our energy into the goals that are most important for our physical, emotional and spiritual well being.
About the Author
Leonie is a Naturopath & Medical Herbalist with a passion for good food, healthy living and of course, herbal medicine. When she is not consulting in her wellness clinic in Lismore or blogging about nutrition, Ayurvedic Medicine or natural health, she is studying yoga, growing her own herbs and vegetables or quietly walking in the natural bush land in Northern Rivers NSW.
Contact our health centre in Lismore to book an appointment with Leonie in our naturopathic clinic.