Declaring what you want is not quite the same as training for what you want.

If a client were to enter my office and ask for help with proper training and nutrition for a marathon, the first thing I would want to know is their current level of running and training – otherwise known as their starting point. If they had never run before, and the race was in a few months, we may have to discuss the feasibility of their plan.

This is no different than when a client comes into my office with a goal to start eating and living healthfully but no plan. Is it possible to suddenly make these lifestyle changes? Yes! But that ability is reserved for a select few people that I’ve worked with. Most need time and space to incorporate new ways of living and eating that complement their current life structure.

  • Focus on adding small things in before taking big things out. What healthy additions can you make in your life daily? More water? More fruit or veggies? How about lean protein? A quick walk? A few deep breaths throughout the day? How about a few stretches at your desk? A moment of reflection on gratitude? Listening to your favorite pick-me song? All of these are examples of adding things in without taking ANYTHING out.
  • Keep your starting goals realistic. Just as I wouldn’t recommend that a couch potato go out and run 5 miles tomorrow, I’m also not going to recommend walking 3 miles a day, 5 days a week. Why? Because I would be setting that person up for failure (and potentially contributing to injury at the same time). When we create goals that are lofty or ambitious, while yes it would be awesome if they were met, often they lead to feelings of failure because they were too big. Start small, succeed, and create a new goal.
  • Allow for mistakes and the unanticipated. But don’t give up. Setbacks and upsets are going to happen. But when they do, don’t stay discouraged for too long. Reflect on what happened and see if there is a learning opportunity or takeaway so that you’re better prepared for next time. Allow space to give yourself grace. Learning anything new takes time and healthful living is a set of acquired skills requiring patience.

So, what are some things that you can do to train for being healthy?

Start off with creating a good goal that moves you and inspires you to act. All too often, I hear, “I want to lose weight.” Commendable, yes. Inspiring, no. How would losing weight change your life? What could you do that you can’t do now? This is where inspiring goals come in. If you need help in this department, I love goals and words and can help you create something awesome.

Come up with a plan. A legit, pen to paper kind of plan. Write down the things that you want to do to be healthy. Thinking and pondering about these things is not enough. Having things down on paper holds you more accountable.

Start small. Let’s say that you’ve identified ten new things that you want to do. Make your bed every day, meditate or pray in the morning, eat a healthy breakfast, go for walk or run, pack a lunch for work, drink less coffee, skip the candy bowl at work, not yell at your kids, eat a family dinner, not snack after dinner, go to bed at a reasonable time, not watch TV before bed, read more books, take a bath, not have a glass of wine… Okay, that’s more than ten. My point is, if these are all things that you want to do that you’re currently not doing, doing ALL of these ALL of the time may be a bit overwhelming. Pick a few that seem reasonable. But maybe instead of walking EVERY day, you manage to do it three times a week. Didn’t pack a lunch for work? Did you get a salad instead? High-five! Celebrate the small victories. Over time, things get easier to do.

Remember, healthful living is a matter of making lots of good choices every day. Be kind to yourself, acknowledge your wins, and don’t give up!