With today being the final day of Women’s Health Week, the aim is to grab hold of your confidence and start taking some action to improve your health for the long term.
The first step is to think about what you would like to do to improve your health: what is one goal? This might be increasing physical activity, eating more nutritious foods, cutting out some stress from your life or anything else that you believe will improve your health.
Finish the following sentence: “I am thinking about improving my health by……”
The next step is to conduct a ‘confidence audit’ and work out how confident you feel to take action towards your goal.
- How confident do I feel to achieve my goal? (on a scale 1 to 5; 1 is ‘not at all confident’, 5 is ‘very confident’)
- What might affect my confidence and get in the way of achieving my goal?
- What can help me be more confident to achieve my goal?
- What could I do if something goes wrong or I hit a bump in the road?
When we feel motivated, we are often tempted to just ‘start’ doing something but evidence shows that to make lasting changes it is good to take the time to step back and think through each step that leads to lasting change.
It is important to really think about your goal and get right down to the detail.
For example, think about how increasing physical activity will affect your life. Think about questions to help you discover why you want to make a change, what will help you and what will stop you from achieving your goal. The following questions and answers may help you to get started:
- What is motivating me to be more active?I will reduce my stress; I will feel better about my body; I will take time out for me.
- What are the benefits of being more active?More energy; more physical strength; increased confidence.
- What are the negatives about being more active?I don’t have the time; injury; it’s cold/hot outside.
- Who/what can support me to be more active?I could walk with a friend; putting my sneakers next to the front door or taking them to work with me; putting exercise times in my diary.
- How do I need to be thinking to give myself the best chance of success?If I don’t exercise I am not a bad person and I can do it later; I haven’t failed and I don’t need to give up; change is a gradual process; change takes time.
You can start to see, just from asking these questions, that making change is a process and can take a bit of thinking; a process that starts with making the decision to change and then moves onto making a solid plan, committing to the plan and then working through a trial and error process. The outcome of this process is long term change!
Trial and error is an important part of the change cycle. Not every step you take in your journey towards a healthier life will be the right one but having the confidence to try something new, with your goal firmly in mind, is the key to long term change. If you experience a set-back, don’t be too hard on yourself. Take a deep breath, be proud of what you have achieved and adjust your plan.
Above all, be kind to yourself. Celebrate the milestones and reward yourself when you reach your goals, however big or small they may be.
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