When it comes to changing your health habits, remember, small steps are the key to success. You might think that the “go big or go home” concept is the way to whip yourself into prime shape. If you’re like me, you’ve told yourself countless times “today’s the day- I’m going to get healthy! Today, I’m doing it all different!”

Then, with the best of intentions you go and push yourself beyond your comfort zone and right over the cliff into misery and pain, both physically and mentally. I know, I’ve been there. Unfortunately, the road to recovery meant crying into a large pizza and hating any and all forms of exercise. Insert screeching halt….

That may seem dramatic but you know it’s not. Why are we are our own worst enemies?! With all the health information thrown at us from all social directions,  it’s no wonder we get ahead of ourselves. It’s one thing to be motivated. It’s entirely another to be unrealistic.

But if you’re sure you’re ready to move forward on your path to health and wellness, follow these 3 easy, safe and effective steps. I promise, this will be your last do over.

Small, measurable steps lead to lasting changes

Step one: Look in the mirror and say “Hi, nice to see you. I love you already. Now, what do you need?” This may sound corny but it sets the foundation for accepting you as you! Having some sense of self awareness and self acceptance is a huge piece to knowing how to move forward, in a way that’s unique to you. Nobody knows you better than you do, after all, so take that step in empowering yourself. Hearing your own answers out loud can bring a tremendous shift in thinking. It doesn’t matter if you say 10 things or just 1 thing. Be open and honest with yourself about where you are on your journey and where you’d like to be. Now, go grab a pen and notebook and write down what your answers are to yourself.

Write your own rules.

Step two: Speaking of notebooks, did you know that studies show that by keeping a health journal you are more likely to engage and stick with healthy lifestyle patterns? Journaling helps you prioritize your needs and concerns and opens the door for positive reinforcement. Writing things down on paper gives you something tangible to use as a comparative analysis. I really enjoy going through my old health journals from 5 + years ago. Even last year’s journal had some interesting “Leslie points”. It makes me smile to see how I’ve worked through my own challenges and how I’ve been able to form new and long lasting healthy lifestyle habits.

Build yourself a support system.

Step 3: Surround yourself with like minded people. It’s easier than you think and you don’t necessarily have to be in physical proximity to them. Scroll thorough your Facebook or Instagram friends list and note which ones are always doing things that relate to what you like. Google “healthy eating websites” or “yoga blogs” or “how to change from a couch potato into a runner”. Have fun with this! Once you find a few websites or blogs that you like, subscribe to their newsletters and follow their blogs. Don’t be shy either! Comment on their blog posts. Open a dialogue. You’ll most likely find that there’s a lot of people out there, just like you, with the same kinds of challenges and questions.

Want some practice? Start by leaving a comment below and see where the conversation leads you. Increase your support system by connecting with Mind Body Wellness today!