It is a fact: we all start somewhere. While you might have heard this quote before, you might not know that the Japanese author Haruki Murakami penned it in his book Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman. The original quote is actually, “Everybody has to start somewhere. You have your whole future ahead of you. Perfection does not happen right away.” Although Mr. Murakami wrote this text for a short story in his book, it can be applicable in the context of health, too.
Improving your health can be hard! Consistently making healthy choices and being active can be a challenge. Sometimes, it can feel like there is so much we need to do that it’s hard even to start. Here are three things you can do to get on track and “start somewhere” on your journey to health.
Make a plan
Having a plan can remove the guesswork from your day-to-day activities. Instead of making a new decision at each step, you can simply follow your plan! This can help reduce the effort needed to reach your goal – no extra thinking or energy is required. But remember, plans can change. It’s important to be flexible when life gets in the way and forces you to change course – that’s okay! Get back on track when you can, or modify your plan to accommodate your current circumstances.
Engage in goal-setting
Set short-, medium- and long-term goals to keep you motivated and experiencing success as you work toward your end goal. Next, be realistic with your goals. Especially at the outset, it can be easy to dream big and set ambitious goals. However, being too ambitious can set you up for failure. Make sure your goals push you to dream big but are also realistic so you aren’t setting yourself up for failure.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do is go easy on yourself. You might not achieve all your goals, but that is okay. When you do fail, reflect on what happened, but try not to dwell. Instead, look ahead and consider what you might do differently next time. Also, be sure to celebrate your small wins! Celebrate in whatever way feels good to you – giving yourself a pat on the back for achieving a goal, no matter how small, will keep you motivated to continue on your health journey!
With a PhD in Exercise Physiology, Jonathan Dugas spends his days thinking about how we can help more people be more active. With four Ironman finishes and 13 marathons and counting, he’ll see you out on the road.