The UF Health Douglas Williams Executive Health Program is an early detection program promoting health and beneficial lifestyle changes. Throughout your annual exam, you will receive empowering tools to help you envision and achieve your individual peak physical and mental function.
In the December member announcement, we shared a useful tool to ensure your lifestyle modification goals were attainable and realistic. Efforts are more successful if you play it SMART! Now that you have begun your journey to become a healthier version of yourself, the Executive Health Nurse, Destiny Knopf, will share additional tips for your continued success.
What trips you up when you try to make healthy changes? Moreover, how can you learn to be nimble enough to sidestep pitfalls? Here are a few strategies that may help derail those pitfalls.
•Always launch change with a plan: It’s tempting to skip straight to action, especially when you’re feeling inspired to make change. By winging it, though, you may ignore important issues such as why you do-and don’t-want to make this change. Make a commitment based on knowledge, then plan a path of small steps that lead to your ultimate goal.
•Set off at a reasonable pace: Rushing change rarely works. Few of us are designed to go from zero to 60. In the exercise world, you set yourself up for injuries; in the diet world, you get sick of nibbling only on celery sticks and head for the chocolate cake. Let small, steady changes help you achieve what you hope to do.
•Envision a happy outcome: Reminding yourself why a change is worthwhile can help you over rough spots
•Expect lapses: Lapses are normal; experts actually write this into stages of change. Embrace lapses as part of the process, then brainstorm solutions to the challenges that derailed. If necessary, whip out your plan to maneuver around lapses and keep on trying.
•Live in the gray zone: Give up on all-or nothing thinking. It’s not good to live in a black-and-white world that dictates “I ate a grilled chicken salad for lunch and I am always good at following my diet” or “I ate fried chicken and french fries for lunch, so I am totally failing at following my diet and might as well eat anything I want.” Even if you treated yourself to a couple chocolate chip cookies or had an unplanned bedtime snack, try not to let slip-ups snowball to the point where you throw your hand up and declare all of your efforts a complete loss. Realize that perfection isn’t possible. Just take a deep breath, smile, and get back on track at the next opportunity.
•Accept full responsibility for making the change: Personal responsibility is essential for lasting change. Don’t expect someone else to act as food police, or push you out the door on days when you just don’t feel like taking a walk. Again, remember why this change matters in YOUR LIFE!
For more information on the UF Health Douglas Williams Executive Health Program, visit www.exechealth.ufl.edu or contact us at (352) 265-8262
“Make one healthy choice. Then make another”