Overcoming 6 common barriers to healthy lifestyle change
Beth Donaldson, Medical Director & Family Physician
It is now April and January 1st has come and gone. If you’re like most people, your New Year’s resolutions came and went with it. Our best intentions to quit smoking, lose weight, or exercise often fall by the wayside by the time February hits.
If resolutions about our health are the most important changes we could make, why do we have so much trouble keeping them? The barriers to successful change are deep-rooted and difficult to overcome. However, with appropriate knowledge, guidance and support, you can make healthy lifestyle changes and look forward to impressive results.
Common daily barriers:
Time is a luxury few of us have. We barely have 10 minutes to sit down, let alone work on our core, shop for local fresh food, or cook wholesome meals. It is important to prioritize time to make room for new, healthier habits. With professional guidance you can identify those areas that most need work and create time in your life for meaningful change.
Old habits die hard. Why? Because habits help decrease anxiety. So that daily bag of chips at 4pm, or two glasses of wine after work may be your comfort foods. Ripping unhealthy habits away by cold turkey is often followed by an increase in anxiety. That is why knowledge is crucial for a stress resistant approach to creating healthier habits that endure. Seek the support you need to commit to a new course of action.
Every decision made during a busy day has a consequence. Which consequences are acceptable to you on any given day profoundly impacts your ability to create and sustain change. For example, if you go to pilates after work you’ll miss your son’s basketball game. If you skip take-out for a home-cooked meal, you won’t get to prepare for tomorrow’s meeting. So gain confidence to start putting yourself first, and be willing to accept those consequences that will actually improve your overall health and well being.
Confidence and Knowledge
It is tough to make healthy changes when you truly don’t know how, and don’t feel comfortable doing so. Maybe you’ve never been to a public gym, or used a treadmill. Or maybe you don’t know what type of tofu to buy or how to prepare it. Seek the help of experts to identify the most appropriate health pathway for you and gain support to put your plan into action.
Strong support networks are key for any successful outcome. So who is living a healthy lifestyle in your daily world? Do your colleagues bring running equipment for a jog at lunch, or do they sit at their desk for 10 hours per day? Maybe your husband is training for a marathon, but leaves you to look after the kids. If there are no suitable cheer team recruits for your health ambitions, then subscribe to a professional support network that is dedicated to your success.
Anxiety and Depression
If you feel hopeless and stressed out on a daily basis, the energy and commitment it takes for positive change just won’t be available. Mood changes are more common than you would imagine, and can stand in the way of recognition and insight related to unhealthy behaviours. With expert diagnosis, medical treatments and behavioural modification you can overcome the issues associated with anxiety and depression that inhibit your choice of a healthier lifestyle.
Seek Support. Seek Knowledge. Gain Confidence.
At Medisys, our Physicians, Kinesiologists, Family Health Nurses, and Registered Dietitians, work together to turn past failed health resolutions into future successes. Through expert diagnosis, medical and behavioural treatments, and ongoing follow up, our team can help you identify the areas you need to work on, and guide you down the most appropriate health pathway.
Don’t be afraid to re-charge your New Year’s resolutions at any time of the year. Change is tough, but with the right support, knowledge and confidence to make it happen, you can make healthy lifestyle changes and look forward to remarkable results.