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Lifestyle Medicine is a growing field in healthcare that emphasizes promoting daily choices that boost overall well-being and health and preventing chronic diseases from developing or worsening. Lifestyle Medicine providers believe in empowering individuals to take control of their health and proactively take steps that make a profound positive impact on patients’ lives. 

Young family eating health foods for breakfastWhen it comes to making healthy choices, motivation is often the most important ingredient for progress towards our goals. But how do you find the motivation to make the changes you know are good for you, especially in a world filled with easy choices that might not always be the healthiest? Let’s look at the tools that Lifestyle Medicine has to offer for finding and keeping motivation. 

 

Understand Your ‘Why’ 

The journey toward harnessing motivation begins with understanding your ‘why.’ Many people find that learning the ‘what’ and ‘how’ knowledge of healthy living is easy, while understanding and fueling your personal ‘why’ for making changes can be more challenging. 

A young girl and her grandmother sit at a table doing homeworkDiscovering your ‘why’ will start with digging deep and finding personal reasons for wanting to live a healthier life. Whether it’s aspiring to see your grandchildren grow up, improving your mental health, or simply wanting to feel better in your daily life. 

When reflecting on your ‘why,’ be sure to find reasons that leave you feeling inspired and rewarded. Avoid defining your ‘why’ by dwelling on reasons that make you feel shame or fearful of the consequences of not making changes. Your ‘why’ is your unique anchor and it keeps you connected to your goals when the going gets tough. 

Set SMART Goals 

A hand illustrating the definitions of the letters in the acronym SMARTOnce your ‘why’ is clear, setting Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART) goals is your next step. SMART goals turn your motivation into a roadmap.  

Instead of setting a vague goal like “I want to be healthier,” a SMART goal would be, “I want to walk 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for the next month.” Adding clarity to your goals makes them more attainable and allows you to track your progress. Measuring your goals also gives you good information when you need to adjust, which is what we’ll look at next. 

Reflect and Adjust 

Regular reflection on your progress and your experiences in your journey is crucial. What’s working? What isn’t? You’ll be able to better answer these questions when equipped with information you’ve learned from tracking your SMART goals. This tool isn’t about judging yourself, but rather understanding and adapting your approach. Maybe you need to set a different time for exercise. Maybe you need help finding healthier recipes that you enjoy more or are easier to prepare. Reflecting and adjusting allows you to fine-tune your path to wellness. 

Embrace Flexibility 

Life can be unpredictable and rigid expectations about how your journey should go can lead to frustration and de-motivation. Adopting a flexible approach to your goals can help support motivation. Missed a workout? Don’t beat yourself up; adjust your schedule and keep moving forward. Overindulged on sweets or fast food? Don’t give up, just get back to your food plan at the next meal. The key is consistency and perseverance over perfection. 

A group of adults in exercise clothing high-fivingBuild a Support System 

Humans are social creatures, and our behaviors are influenced by those around us. Building a support system of friends, family, or a community of people you trust can provide you with encouragement and accountability. Sharing your goals, struggles, and successes can also boost your motivation and make your goals more concrete. 

Celebrate All Wins 

The path to a healthier lifestyle is a marathon, not a sprint. Celebrating all your wins, large and small, can provide a sense of achievement and keep fueling your motivation. Did you have water instead of soda? That’s a win! Did you increase the number of push-ups you can do? Another win!! These celebrations reinforce positive behavior and make the journey enjoyable. 

You can do this, we can help 

When it comes to motivation, the Lifestyle Medicine approach can provide effective strategies to help you understand your ‘why,’ and guide you in building a practical path to health and wellness. It acknowledges that each day we have an opportunity to make better choices, and that every step forward is a step toward a healthier life.  

At Brevard Health Alliance, we’re committed to providing quality care and improving the health and wellness of patients. Our team can help you develop an individualized plan and walk with you on the path toward wellness. Call or text us to get started at 321.241.6800.