Updated: Sep 3, 2020
While health care providers are a critical part of keeping us well, we are ultimately responsible for our own health and wellness. The importance of lifestyle is apparent when considering that most chronic diseases can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle. While we need our health care providers for certain things, we are in the driver’s seat when it comes to improving our own health.
More specifically, your doctor is not going to come over to your house, knock the potato chip bag out of your hand, and push you out for a run. Insurance will not cover that.
Why Take Control?
If you don’t do it, no one else will.
If you are living with a chronic illness, you might not be able to attain 100% control of that condition with lifestyle changes. However, there are certainly healthy changes most of us can take to improve conditions, or to prevent things from getting worse.
How to Take Control?
1. Change Your Mindset. Realizing that you have some control over your health is the first step to acting upon it.
2. Find a Focus. Think about what might be holding you back from your optimal health. Is it diet, exercise, sleep, stress? Think about what area of your health might be the most important to change.
3. Set a Goal. Set a goal that you hope to attain over a period of time.
4. Break the Goal Down Into Smaller, Attainable Action Steps. Think backwards from where you want to be. Set up action steps in reverse order from where you want to be to where you are now. For example, if you want to ultimately exercise five days a week, maybe start with adding in one session a week and slowly work your way up until you reach five.
5. Be Specific. The more specific the goal, the more likely you are to attain it. If you are working your way up to five exercise sessions a week, you can be more specific by delineating the exact type of exercise, the length of the session, the time of day, the day of the week, etc. Think of your goal as if it’s an adverb - describe how, when, where, how much.
6. Keep it Up! Health is not an all or nothing pursuit. Taking small steps in the right direction is progress!
Sometimes it can be difficult to take the reins of your health. However, I can personally attest that taking control of your health by making lifestyle changes will result in critical improvements to your health and quality of life. You are absolutely worth the effort!
Want to Go Deeper? Here’s some recommended reading: