Mind over matter

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To reach your health and wellness goals you need a strong awareness of self and your behaviours. To help you out we have come up with seven helpful tips to help you reach your goals and create positive long-term changes.

1. Look back to move forward.
Take time to reflect once a day on your progress. Determine what you want to achieve and why. Reflect on occasions where reasons led you to stray from your ideals. How did you behave? Knowing who you are and how you react is powerful. Continue to look ahead and remain positive. Curb negative “self-talk” and focus on positive outcomes rather than previous failures.

2. Determine your challenges.
Work out when you stray from your goals and the circumstances why. Who are the people involved? What are the contributing factors? Write them down. Do the same for the instances that you feel strong and are staying on track. Know who supports you and what lets you down.

3. Write down your goals.
Be specific and include timeframes. Link your goals to outcomes and feelings. The link to feeling and visualising achievement will help you overcome challenges.

4. Stick to the plan.
Don't force yourself to remember everything you're supposed to be doing. Come up with a plan to reach your goals, put it on paper and follow it. Tailoring your plan along the way will help you stay on track.

Your plan should be based on your challenges. Steer clear of fad diets and workouts. If you are a social person who is tempted by a biscuit or muffin when out for coffee, minimise your exposure to these circumstances. Meet with friends and go for a walk or to the gym. When you are doing something positive you gain momentum and confidence, and will remain on track.

5. Be honest with yourself.
Look in a full length mirror and visualise what you want to achieve. Check-in with yourself, take measurements and monitor your progress. Taking before and after shots are also beneficial in highlighting how far you’ve come.

6. Enlist support.
We all like to do what our friends and family are doing. So don't go it alone. Invite them to live healthier with you. Find exercise partners, hire a personal trainer and seek advice. Tell them what you want from them and ask them to keep you accountable.

Most friends will encourage you but others may be saboteurs. They may be threatened by your positive lifestyle changes and feel guilty. To shift the guilt they will coerce you to stray from your ideals. “C’mon, live a little!” and “let your hair down, you’re obsessed” are things you’ll hear. Address this and ask for support.

7. Go with what works. Ditch what doesn't.
Give new habits a chance to sink in. If you're struggling after a couple of weeks, it's time to try a new approach. Tailor a plan that works for your personality and lifestyle. Adjust it as you need. Know what is working and be aware of your behaviour.

Reflection should always occur, even when you’re successful. Integrate it into your lifestyle. A true awareness of self establishes a stronger, more resilient you.

The YMCA is committed to helping achieve your goals. If you’re looking to set up a program, or are in need of support, have a chat with the friendly staff in the centre.