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10 barriers and 10 characteristics to achieving a healthy lifestyle

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If you find yourself not being able to reach your healthy lifestyle goals and struggling to make progress, it may be time to look at what may be stopping you from moving forward, or in some cases getting started. It may be your busy schedule, family commitments, work demands, the weather, lack of resources, etc.

10 Common barriers that can get in the way of your healthy lifestyle goals can include but are not limited to:

  1. Goals that are too aggressive such as going from not exercising to trying to exercising 5 days a week.
  2. Goals that are really not important (ask yourself, on a scale of 0 - 10 "how important is this goal compared to other goals I have" - 0 no importance and 10 my health or perhaps future happiness depends on it.
  3. Not having a specific goal, such as adding a fresh fruit as an afternoon snack 3 days a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday;
  4. Having a vision or outcome in mind such as losing 20 pounds but no short term action goal to get there (weight loss is not a goal, it's a long term outcome that will result from some action) but not attaching an specific action goal such as, substituting fat free milk for 2% milk, hitting the gym 5 days/week for 30 minutes each time.
  5. Having a unrealistic goal such as completing a triathlon for someone who has never even completing a 5K run previously or has a plan to prepare.
  6. Holding on the a belief that has no validity ("if I do this then this will happen, or not happen" - ask yourself "has it ever happened?")
  7. No being able to recognize what needs to be let go to reach their goal (perhaps letting go of feelings that they will somehow disappoint others by doing something for themselves or need to be a superstar at work out of fear of being disciplined of terminated, desire to be liked by others, etc.) Sometimes unfounded fears can stop us from achieving.
  8. Inability to say no or saying no then adding "but ask me later or ..." No is a complete sentence.
  9. Negative self talk ( that itty, bitty, sh*#ty, committee (of one) in our heads that is always putting us down).
  10. Rating our confidence to reach a goal as 9 or 10 (0 will never happen and 10 nothing will stop me) and then when we ask ourselves what could get in the way we come up with a half dozen reasons or in some cases excuses). If this happens you will need a strategy to overcome each barrier ... or choose a different goal.

Individuals who succeed at achieving their healthy lifestyle goals share common characteristics that include but are not limited to:

  1. Have a clear vision in mind of the person they will be in the future and being able to be in the present (see video above).
  2. Taking time to plan out specific goals.
  3. Ability to identify barriers getting in their way of making progress and creating a strategy to mitigate the barriers. This may mean setting boundaries.
  4. Creating one goal at a time.
  5. Breaking goals into smaller manageable and progressive steps.
  6. Using journals to recorded their progress.
  7. Shared their goals with their family and friends.
  8. Rewarding themselves when they achieved a goal like new clothes or a relaxing massage ( not with food, especially if they are trying to lose weight).
  9. Focused on the achievements and not minor setbacks by treating lapses as temporary and not beating themselves up over minor setbacks.
  10. Having a support system in place (family, friends, a coach, etc.).

This information is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical/nutritional/fitness advice. Information presented is subject to change as additional discoveries are made or additional research is published. Links to various sites are provided for your convenience only and we are not responsible or liable for the content, accuracy of information provided or privacy practices of linked sites or for products or services described on these sites.

Sources: aspire2wellness.com, http://b3Nutrition.com/ http://www.richardwiseman.com/research/psychologyluck.html; http://www.Dorthy.com, http://www.ndhealth.gov/heartstroke/image/cache/Healthy_Choices_Healthy/

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