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start your health journey with these four practical steps

Hey there!

Thank you for joining me again! :) Today we're talking about simple steps to take to start your health journey. I think this is something really important to talk about because this is the hardest step...literally.

With all the information on the internet, it can seem like starting a health journey would be super simple and straight forward. But in reality it doesn't quite work out that way. Why? Because knowledge doesn't necessarily translate into action. If knowledge equaled action we'd all be killing it with our goals just about all the time. So I've reflected on what helped me start my own health journey, and what helped me to become consistent in this regard. I'm hoping that you'll get a bit of inspo from my tips and get started on your health journey too.

Alright, let's get right into it!

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Tips to get started on your health journey

1.Get clear on your why sounds super obvious but overriding this first step is why most of us fail. On the flip side, those who take the time to get clear on this first step are the ones who reach their goals. Getting clear on your why means understanding the central force that will pull you forwards when times get tough. Your why needs to be inspiring and energising enough to get you out of the dumps. It's the reason you'll stay committed when you really feel like quitting.

Some questions you can ask yourself to help with this include:

  • What does health mean to me?

  • How do I envision the healthy version of myself?

  • How do I envision the healthy version of my life?

  • Who in my life will benefit from me working on my health goals?

  • What do I think will change when I start working on my health goals?

Take some time to answer these questions. Give yourself about 5-10 minutes to get clear on what it means to be healthy for you, and *why* it's important for you to create a healthier lifestyle. Also, don't censor your answers. Whatever comes to you is the right answer.

2. Realise that health is a long-term game

Now that you know your why, it's time to face a deeper reality: health is a long-term journey. It's not a destination that you'll ever reach; if you let go of your commitment, your health will regress. This is why it's important to have a deep understanding of your why. Take a look back at your 'why' and ask yourself if you dug deep enough. It's okay to have short-term health-related aspirations like weight loss...but you need to go even deeper than that. Weight loss is a short-term goal. What happens after you reach your destination? Ask yourself what your specific 'why' means and what it will allow you to do/have in your life, as well as why that particular change or state of being is significant to you.

3.Start small

Okay, so now you have a *solid* foundation. You've uncovered your why. Maybe you've even started gaining clarity on the difference between shorter term goals and longer-term overarching themes for your wellness journey. This is great, you've made so much progress already!

The next thing to realise is that the best way to make change is by taking small steps rather than giant leaps. Part of the reason why many of us are ineffective at making long-term change, even with all the available information, is that it's really overwhelming to take action when we're faced with too make stuff to take in all at once.

Going back to the second tip - health is a long-term journey. And I'm guessing since you're interested in your health, for whatever reason, you're also interested in living a long life. Seeing as you plan to live for so long, there's no need to do everything at the same time right? Okay great, I'm glad we're on the same page.

Oftentimes we feel a need to do everything at once, as though we're running out of time with getting healthy. This type of thinking does not serve any of us. The best thing is to look at your lifestyle and choose one small thing that you can tweak per specific time period. So maybe you decide that in the first week of your health journey you're going to drink an additional litre of water per day. Then in week two you either add an additional litre of water, reaching your total daily water goal, or you add a new vegetable to your basket at the grocery store. Simple and measurable is the way to go. Pick a progressive time-frame that works for you to ladder your goals.

4. Be specific with your goals

It doesn't help anyone to say "I want to be healthier". This is majorly unclear and will not help you move forward in a meaningful way. This is why it's so important to start by getting clear on why your desire to get healthier matters to you. Your why can point you in the direction of your specific goals.

I touched on this lightly in the previous point, but it's really helpful to set small measurable goals. You've probably heard of this already, and it's probably one of those things that makes you roll your eyes by now...but you've got to set SMART goals. Specific, measurable, actionable, relevant and time-bound.

Okay so let's go back to that 'drink more water goal'. If we left it there, that would be too vague. So we took it a step further and said we'll drink an additional litre of water. This is the specific and measurable part. Next we need to assess whether or not this is achievable. It is totally feasible if you keep a water bottle filled up by your side all day. Great so we've made sure it is indeed achievable. Now for the relevant part, think about the overarching theme this goal aligns with. You want to get healthier and everybody knows hydration is a major component of a healthy body. Fabulous. Lastly, is the goal time-bound? Yes it is. We know that by the end of each day we need to have consumed an additional litre of water, and that we need to do this consecutively for seven days in order to meet the goal.

You already know how simple this goal-setting strategy is. I think that's probably why many of us (including myself) overlook it when it comes to setting goals and taking consistent action toward achieving them.

I'm going to leave it at these four tips. This is more than enough to ensure that anybody, no matter who they are, where they are or what is going on in their life, is able to take concrete steps toward their health goals! I know there can be so much pressure with social media to reach your goal in a week or even a month, but remember that social media, and the internet in general, is sensational by nature. Real-life is marked by every-day mundane-ness, and reaching your goals is one of those everyday mundane things. It's extremely exciting at the beginning and soon enough it becomes a regular part of your life.

I think it's also helpful to remember that everything you're doing for yourself is an act of self love. Celebrate that and celebrate yourself for taking loving action. Let self love be your motivating force to continue when the going get tough, when you become frustrated or even feel hopeless...because those feelings are inevitable.

If you have any questions about this DM me on Instagram @iamtshepangpooe. I am here to support you.

Lots of love

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 Food and body image issues are distracting women from showing up meaningfully in their lives. My desire is to help women heal from disordered eating, have a healthier relationship with food and live a life of health without obsession. In this way, the noise will be cleared and collectively we'll be empowered to create a positive ripple-effect in our own lives and in the lives of others.

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