Setting Goals to Be Healthy in Old Age
Before talking about the steps to take towards a healthier lifestyle, it's worth looking at what we want to walk away from. The Internet has certainly engraved our minds with some horrific images of the outcomes of unhealthy lifestyles: individuals who weigh hundreds of pounds more than any Circus Fat Man back in the days of the "freak shows"; the rich and famous stumbling back and forth between treatment centers and relapses; and photos of people with failed face lifts and breast "enhancements", obsessively pursuing happiness under the surgeon's knife.
In general terms, slumping somewhere between the most gruesome lifestyle scenarios and your svelte, bike-riding, rosy-cheeked, octogenarian neighbor are you and I. How do we actually spring off the couch, race walk around our living room, and release those 30-100 pounds that have been dogging us since ....... (fill in the blank)?
How do we go about meeting new positive people and trying fun activities we have never tried, or haven't engaged in since our younger years?
Do we worry about memory loss and overwhelming chronic pain? Do we need to see a specialist or an alternative medical practitioner but keep putting it off?
In this article we look at some practical tips-- some unusual, some you've heard before-- that, if applied, can definitely lead to a marked improvement in holistic health and lifestyle at any age.
**Disclosure: I am not a certified health professional, so please DO discuss anything new that you plan to implement with your physician and/or nutritionist.
How Do I Motivate Myself To Have A Healthier Lifestyle?
Motivation. There lies the core of the answer to this question. (If it's an apple core, you're off to good start.) We can read and listen to "motivational speakers" until the proverbial cows come home, but in truth, we motivate ourselves. As motivational book author Wayne Dyer states: “Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” So, once you've made the choice to have a healthier lifestyle, you are on the road to achieving that!
What IS a Healthier Lifestyle?
Whenever you are setting a goal to accomplish something it is important to take the time to break down exactly what it is that you want to achieve. How will you measure what healthier is? What will a healthier lifestyle look like for you? You have made the choice to go about motivating yourself to live healthier, so what choices do you need to make to have the outcomes you desire?
Let's "unpack" this a bit so that it is consumable in smaller chunks...
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Defining "Healthier Lifestyle" and Goal Setting To Achieve That
What is your healthier lifestyle vision for yourself? For this exercise you will need a few pens or pencils, some writing paper, a quiet space, and some unimpeded time to just dream and write.
Suggestion: Gift yourself with this time. Leave your iPhone in a secure other space. If music seems to help you think, put on some classical instrumental music as background. Relax. Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths.
First, think of the physical aspects of a healthier lifestyle.
- Rest and sleep.
- Unhealthy habits you want to release.
In each category you can set a goal for yourself.
- Start by setting a date for achieving what it is you want to achieve (knowing that goals are basically dreams with a date). This is just a "draft" that you will hone up when you have all the information you need to make it realistic AND exciting enough to truly keep you interested and be realistic according to your current lifestyle.
- It's useful to know, for example, that most of us need a lot more sleep than we get. Human beings are wired to make healthier choices if they sleep during the night when their brains and other body parts are geared for balance, recovery and healing. But by all means, build in naps as well.
The Dream Walk
If you get fidgety sitting somewhere and writing, you might want to take a camera and go for a Dream Walk. Over a week, take photos of scenes, objects, or activities that you can fit into your goals for being healthier. You might want to take notes about what appealed to you and why. At the end of the week you will have a good number of photos to sort through and think about in terms of your aim to feel better.
Suggestion: Do not take pictures of people without their permission. Do not take pictures of children at all. It is okay to take pictures of the back of a group, or of performers or an event where they have okay'd photographing.
The Other Stuff About Being Healthy
After you have considered what you want your physical "healthier lifestyle" to be by (your goal date) then shift to envisioning the intellectual, social, emotional, and spiritual goals you have for yourself. Do you feel "out of the loop" intellectually and hanker for something more stimulating than playing games on Facebook, or are you worried about developing Alzheimer's disease if it "runs" in your family? What intellectual goals have you let lie hidden because perhaps you thought you didn't have what it takes? Want to learn a new language so you can actually read and talk to people when you travel to far countries? Have you always thought how nice it would be to play the harp or the guitar? As you move into the other goal categories you will probably find that just writing down one of these intellectual goals (ex., learn to play the guitar) will spark social, emotional and spiritual goals that you have not considered within your realm of ability before, but that now seem possible (and likely are!). This is YOU drafting the design for YOUR Healthier Lifestyle.
Have fun brainstorming your way through each of these categories. Please remember that you are looking at "healthier lifestyle" and don't use this as an opportunity to beat yourself up emotionally for not being the poster child for the perfect healthiest lifestyle on the planet. Every journey begins with a single step, and these are just the baby steps towards making the ultimate improvements you want to see in your healthier lifestyle.
7 Tips for Older Guitar Beginners
You are your Best Teacher
After you have this draft written up you will have a much better idea of what it is that you consider a "healthier lifestyle". Now, depending on what sort of personality you have, you might want to break all of your goals down into smaller planning segments and chart things you can do regularly (preferably daily) towards achieving each larger goal. Tom Strahle has some great tips for older people who want to learn to play guitar (video above).You can adapt his tips to building other skills. His first suggestion is to spend only five minutes a day with the guitar vs. putting pressure on yourself to practice 30 minutes a day. Build in small rewards such as Day 14- go to a guitar concert in the community. You might also be jazzed by the Dream Board concept. There are several thousand ideas for creating a dream board and other means of keeping yourself motivated to fulfill your goals on the Internet. You can do it!
Consider an Adventure
So, HOW Can I Keep Motivated in Achieving and Maintaining a Healthier Lifestyle?
In conclusion, it is most important to realize that you are capable of finding out what you consider a "healthier lifestyle." By doing some visioning, goal-setting, planning, and daily actions towards your goals you will, with self-discipline and incentives (rewards) of your own choosing, attain and maintain that 'healthier lifestyle'.
If you find that you need more support, structure and/or suspect that you might be impeded in any way in keeping motivated to change--because of depression or unresolved grief, or other worrying health concerns, please speak to someone in that field who can help you or refer you to a specialist.