Four ways to cultivate a healthier lifestyle… when those around you haven’t

Making a decision to live a healthier lifestyle is the easy part. The hard part is to keep at it and stick to the promises you made and the goals you set for yourself. It’s especially difficult to do that when the people around you are not providing support or are actively living in an unhealthy way.

Imagine trying to eat right in a household where sugary snacks are readily available and where your family eats out at fast food restaurants a few times a week. The temptation to quit on your diet or to cheat with your meal plan would be incredible.

What about if you plan to work out each day, but the people around you are not similarly motivated and are actually criticising your efforts because they feel guilty about their exercise habits?

You may struggle in this kind of environment, and you may wonder how long it is possible to stay motivated and to keep trying to live healthy. If that’s your situation, then this set of tips is for you.

1. Find physical activities you love

It’s tough to stay motivated when you don’t enjoy the exercises you are doing. If you don’t like running, then find something else to do, like swimming, using a treadmill or working out to a video routine.

There may not be an exercise that you think you like doing at all, but as you experiment and try out some new things, you will probably find one you enjoy. It can take some time and effort to find what your “thing” is, but it will be worth it when you actually have a good time living healthy and working out.

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You may just find that you need a workout partner to enjoy yourself, and the company can make the exercise more appealing. Or you may need to listen to music while you exercise to make the work less tedious. Research from the University of London indicates that music can definitely improve a workout regimen.

2. Take things slowly

If you set goals for yourself that are too big and too far-reaching, you will probably start to falter pretty quickly. You may be able to keep up with all those resolutions for a few days or even a few weeks, but after a while, it will become tough to balance all the new, major changes with the way you are used to doing things.

So, try cutting out a few small things at once, like Harvard Medical School recommends, such as limiting when you have sweet or unhealthy snacks. Cutting them back to once or twice a week instead of cutting them out is a much easier way to go. Exercising two days a week instead of five makes things much easier on you and allows you to ease into the new programme.

Remember that trying to stay motivated when everyone around you is doing something different is the toughest part, so you have to consider what might destroy your motivation.

3. Start each day in a healthy way

How we start our day is how we tend to finish it, so if you start strong and healthy, then you are likely to carry those kinds of actions through to the rest of the day. You are creating healthy habits that will stick with you for life, and it becomes more difficult for those around you to throw you off track, if you have started your day properly.

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On the other side of that coin, if you have to work up toward healthy habits each day because you don’t start things right, then it will be much easier to get out of the healthy habits and be deterred from your goals.

Make a list of things that you want to have in your morning routine, such as a few exercises and a healthy breakfast. If you do those each day, then you will make it far easier to change the rest of the day into a series of heathy living habits.

4. Establish the rules

If you are trying to live a healthy life on the sly, then of course your friends and family won’t respect your choices to live right. They have no idea of the kind of commitment you have made. You will find that if you discuss with those around you what you are trying to do, even if they are not doing it themselves, they will be more likely to support you and less likely to tempt you away from your goals.

Let them know what you are allowing yourself to do and not allowing yourself to do. Tell them about your dieting and exercise plans and the kind of schedule you want to have. Your friends and family will likely be more understanding and accommodating than you think.

They may not all be supportive, but just having few of them on your side can help you considerably.

About Sofia Alves

I'm an avid runner, conveyor of messages, sunshine addict. Guided by the belief that health is a choice, I recently started sharing my knowledge as a contributing writer at Jogging Addiction. In my free time, you can usually find me sharing stories with friends over a glass of dry wine and a plate of my favourite pesto spaghetti.