People reach their goals by overcoming the inevitable obstacles that arise. In this blog post I discuss how to overcome obstacles to health.
Many people wish to improve their health, but get stuck because adopting new habits is fairly hard. Healthy habits are often difficult to start and sustain. For example, you might be interested in improving your nutrition, but can’t stick to your plan. Perhaps you know that exercise will help, but you’re not able to work out consistently. The main barriers arise when people perceive that they lack any of the following:
Just about everybody prioritizes work and family. The problem occurs when competing priorities cause you to neglect yourself.
It is very tempting to “save time” by eating fast food and cutting out exercise. However, as I discussed in a previous blog, 5 Health Tips for Busy People, you are probably harming your health and wasting more time than you save.
You don’t have to cook every night to have a nutritious meal. In a pinch, throw a sweet potato in the microwave. Load it up with spinach, avocado, and canned beans, and have at it!
It’s nice to take a break from the hot oven. For quick, nutritious snacks, try smoothies, berries, seeds, and nuts.
Sometimes we simply don’t feel motivated to put forth the effort to adopt healthy habits. It’s easier to do nothing. Change takes time and energy. Change is uncomfortable.
Create a clear vision of your future in your best health to motivate you when you feel like quitting. You need something powerful to inspire you to take action.
Take one step at a time. If you try to change too many things at once, you might feel overwhelmed and fall back into old ways.
There are so many myths out there, such as “it costs too much to eat healthy.” Any food that is non-nutritious is actually expensive, since it wastes money and harms your health.
Compare the cost of your healthier option to the alternative. Factor in the cost of medications and health care for preventable conditions, like diabetes, hypertension, atherosclerosis, etc.
It is hard to feel confident when you’re not sure you can reach your goal. Confidence comes from drawing on your past successes. Think about the times when you’ve tried something really challenging and succeeded.
Take small steps so that you don’t get discouraged, and set yourself up to win by setting goals that are within reach.
A lack of support is a huge barrier that keeps people from moving forward. Ideally, you will find supportive, like-minded people, encouraging you to make this journey to health. Unfortunately, some of your family and friends will only be discouraging. They do not appreciate your goals and may feel insecure, watching you grow.
As an integrative health coach, my job is to help people overcome their barriers. It’s hard to make progress all alone. People need encouragement, support, and a plan in order to overcome challenges and make lasting change.
There are many obstacles to healthy change, including the lack of time, energy, money, confidence, and support. However, I hope that you are beginning to see that there are ways to deal with these barriers, one by one, so that you can reach your fullest potential.
Carla Hightower, MD, MBA is a physician, health coach, workplace wellness consultant, and speaker. She helps people heal themselves with food. Through wellness workshops and courses, she helps companies create healthy, energetic teams.
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