Most people want to get healthy and are willing to exert themselves toward this goal. But too often, our efforts are informal or haphazard. We work out and eat healthy meals one weekend, feel good about it, and then go back to unhealthy habits.
If you want to break this pattern, try to learn and apply these tips from organizations that make it a point to change and meet targets: businesses.
Make formal plans
Do you know of any company where the leaders randomly make large-scale decisions? If the answer is yes, you have to question their approach to business seriously. Leaders need to weigh information and consult with key stakeholders before they determine the direction of operations.
There’s a reason why C-suite executives are willing to sit through boring meetings and lengthy presentations. Companies have a lot at stake. And the same goes for your personal life. The decision to be fit and healthy is a significant commitment. You can’t expect results from a casual, on-the-fly resolution.
Change starts with treating the process seriously. When you get down to it, top-down planning shows you how much ground you have to cover between now and your objective. It will inform not only your direction but the realistic steps you can take to get there.
You can be as businesslike as possible and outline SMART goals to achieve a healthier lifestyle. Instead of exercising when you feel like it, set a daily target of 30 minutes. Don’t just eat whenever you’re hungry or how much you want to consume. Measure your portions, but make sure the reduction isn’t too drastic.
This makes change easier to achieve. You can track your progress and periodically see how well you’re doing in relation to your objective.
Adjust to reality
If you’ve ever worked for a big company, on your first day you were probably given an employee handbook. Maybe you were also issued various job aids and SOP outlines defining how to go about your work.
However, most workers soon put these materials away, never to read them again. For all but the most routine, procedure-based jobs, situations will crop up frequently that aren’t covered in any guide. You can internalize the rules that matter, but more importantly, you need to adapt to real-world conditions.
You might have a plan to change your life, but just like workers at a company, you have to reconcile the practical difficulties of daily life with your ideal scenario. What do you do when you have to work extra hours or don’t have time to cook a healthy meal?
When you have the family over for Thanksgiving, it might get weird if you eat fastidiously. Most people don’t enjoy eating around someone who obsesses over calorie content and portion size. Maybe you go with the flow and indulge over the holidays. But you need to get back on track afterward instead of losing momentum.
Meet your plans halfway. Work from the bottom up. Life is going to throw a wrench in your way now and then, disrupting your well-considered schemes. How do you bounce back?
Share your vision
If you have a hobby, you don’t keep the tools of your craft locked up in a basement or shed. An avid angler buys the finest Accurate reels and stores them somewhere handy for their weekend trips. They display photos or stuffed specimens of their best catch.
When something is essential to your identity, you’re proud of it. And you don’t just tell that to yourself; you let other people know. For some reason, people can hesitate to say that they’re trying to get healthy. But a big part of becoming your future self is having the courage to admit that you’re a work in progress.
It might help to realize that every business does this all the time. They post it on social media profiles, websites, and the walls of their offices. It’s called a vision statement, and it reads something like, “We aspire to be…”
Don’t be afraid to tell people about your vision. Many will prove to be supportive. You can find help from unexpected sources. And it helps you filter out the influences who would try to drag you back down into unhealthy habits and practices.
Businesses have an inherent need to envision change, create plans, and make things work. If they fail, they won’t survive. Turning your life around to become healthy and physically active is no less vital to your own survival. It’s time to give this effort the businesslike approach it deserves.