5 Tips For An Environment That Fosters Healthy Changes
As the old saying goes, old habits die hard. Sometimes, no matter how determined we are to make healthy changes in our lives, we fail. Maybe we’re successful for a week or two, but we go back to our old ways in the end. Let me ask you something. When you set out to make these changes, do you set the stage or success?
Have you ever been out and about and caught a whiff of something that smelled so good, and you suddenly feel hungry? Has a song ever made you want to get up and dance or brought back an intimate memory? When you see a comfy looking couch or bed, do you just want to plop down and relax?
Our environments, including everything we see, smell, feel, hear, and taste, can have a strong influence on the decisions we make. Our environments can work for us, and they can work against us. I’m going to share some considerations and suggestions with you, to help you set the stage for a positive environment that will help you succeed in making healthy lifestyle changes.
- Arrange your kitchen so it supports dietary changes you’re trying to make. In your pantry, keep the healthy foods you know you should be eating at eye level. Keep the foods that aren’t so good for you, which should only be eaten as the occasional treat, towards the bike and perhaps up higher. If you don’t see it as often, you shouldn’t crave it as often. Keep veggies and some fruit washed, chopped, and ready to be eaten, in a visible place in the fridge. Once again, make the healthier foods more accessible. If you have a lot of treats in the fridge, you may want to consider freezing some. You should not keep a lot of treats in the fridge. My sister-in-law sent me a bunch of homemade gluten-free treats. I keep them individually wrapped and pull one out to thaw once each week. Keep all appliances and kitchen utensils that you may need for healthy food preparations in convenient, easy access locations. Basically, you want to set thins up so that healthy dietary choices are the most convenient choices. This may take a little rearranging work in the beginning, but it will pay off in the long run.
- Keep your workout equipment in usable form. Keep your laundry off of your running shoes. Keep your office/craft area out of your workout area. Keep your bike tires pumped up. Make sure your dirty gym clothes get washed. Replace old running shoes. Renew gym memberships before they expire.
- Eliminate things in your life that do not serve you, your goals, and the changes you want to make. Keep your money in your pocket and the things that oppose your goals on the store shelves. This could mean leaving the cheesecake on the grocery store shelf or the pack of cigarettes at the gas station. You could consider getting rid of some those excessive treats you found while rearranging your kitchen. Perhaps you could get rid of the candy dish you keep on your living room end table or desk at work.
- Create a social network of people who support your goals and the healthy changes you want to make. This does not mean getting rid of your current social network, but rather adding to it. Spend more time with friends who have like-minded goals. Join groups at work who like to get together for bowling, basketball, or hikes. Try to eat with friends and coworkers who like to eat healthy.
- In this day and age where the internet is everywhere, and everyone uses some type of social media, I invite you to use it to your advantage. Follow friends, family, business, and groups who share ideas for healthier living. This could be via email, newsletters, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and so much more. My social media feeds are filled with more brilliant tips, recipes, workouts, and information than I could possibly remember and use. It inspires me every time I scroll through my feed and see all of the great ideas and suggestions. I don’t care to follow the drama that can easily be found on social media, but rather I use it for support and motivation to help me make healthy choices. Every time I scroll through, my motivation is renewed.
Ultimately, only you can determine what changes in your environment would serve you best. I invite you to make mental notes as you go about your day. Notice what things trigger unhealthy thoughts and practices. Some may only make sense to you, and that is OK. Some may be big and some may be small. Some may be easy to change, and some may not be. Obviously, you can’t change everything. You can’t move that fast food restaurant out of your work parking lot, and you can’t stop everyone around you from making poor choices. You could try parking in a different corner at work, or sitting at a different table at work, though we all know food aromas do travel. Hang in there and do the best you can.