Lifestyle: A particular way of living.
To achieve major long-term changes in one’s life it takes more than tricks and tips. It calls for a change in mindset. It also calls for a change in lifestyle.
Let’s say I want a flat tummy. I can get some quick ‘flat-abs workout’ tips on Youtube or Pinterest. Start my exercise routine. I can avoid certain kinds foods and eat more of the healthier kinds. I can stick to these routines until the tummy becomes flat. Once I stop doing what I used to do to get the flat tummy, guess what? It will grow back! Hahaha!
How is that for all the energy and time I’ve used up!
But if I make a decision that exercise will be a part of my daily routine, things might go differently. If I adopt it as a lifestyle, am likely to maintain the flat tummy. It obviously starts with your mindset. If your mind connects healthy eating and exercise with a flat tummy, then everytime you see your tummy grow you’ll know that you are not exercising or eating right.
The same applies to people who want to lose weight.
In the case of losing weight,the first thing is to identify the habits or lifestyle that make you gain those extra pounds. Is it the heavy meals you enjoy eating in the night? Or the sweets and sodas? Or is it the yummy pastry?
Get to the root of the problem.
After you have identified the cause, the triggers and habits, your next step is to change the lifestyle. This takes time because we are creatures of habit, you can’t just change a habit overnight (others do though, but most of us can’t). You have to ease into it. Don’t strain your body and mind, they have been doing the same thing over and over for years! Give them time to adjust to the new you. If it’s sugars for example, you can start by cutting out soda or fizzy drinks. Do not say ‘I will try not take fizzy drinks for two months’. After two months what next? You’ll reward yourself with a fizzy drink?! The goal is short-term.
Try this: My goal is to cut out fizzy drinks from my diet for good because they make me gain unnecessary weight. So phase one of ‘Mission cut out fizzy drinks’ will be to take fizzy drinks only on weekends for let’s say a month (limiting the frequency). Be sure to find a good substitute for the fizzy drinks, it could be a smoothie or homemade juice.
After a month, track your progress.If you are still not comfortable you can add another month. If it worked, get into phase two which could be to only take one cup of fizzy drinks on those weekends (limiting the quantity).Continue to do this until you have completely cut out the drinks from your diet. The transition helps you kill the cravings (you crave for things you are used to) and it also helps with creating habits while allowing your body and mind to get used to the idea.
Have a goal that you very convinced about. Then set strategies. The aim should always be to change your lifestyle and not just to solve the problem, temporarily. The conviction that comes from the goal you’ve set will push you on days when it feels so hard (there will be days you will want to quit!).
Write the goal down.
One thing I noticed from reading the Old Testament is that, God often told His messengers (prophets, kings, leaders) to write visions or His words on a tablet or book. There is significance in this. For the commandments written by Moses, the people had to obey and follow them. For the visions and prophesies, people had to wait for them to happen or be fulfilled. So, they needed a record to go back to. Without words being written down, we wouldn’t have much of the Word with us today! Writing the Word kept it for generations and generations.
It’s not enough to just have the goal set in your mind, write it down PLAINLY (and make it so clear that even if you read it months from the time of writing you would still be able to understand) where you will be able to easily refer back to. You will need it as the journey continues. Here are some instances in the bible where God told His messengers to write down something:
Then the Lord answered me and said,
“Write the vision
And engrave it plainly on [clay] tablets
So that the one who reads it will run.
Therefore write down the things you have seen,
and the things that are,
and the things that will happen after this.
"You shall write on the stones
all the words of this law very distinctly."
"Thus says the LORD,
the God of Israel,
'Write all the words
which I have spoken to you in a book.
“For everything that was written in the past
was written for our instruction,
so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures,
we might have hope.”
There is a whole lot to talk about under strategies (I’ll write more about this in the future). At this point you will be working to triumph over your triggers and cravings (fighting old habits). It’s a difficult and very painful stage. You will be denying your body what it wants. It will definitely fight back. Be prepared for that.
Having a goal or vision or purpose that you truly believe in brings discipline. So the first stage of setting the goal is very important, don’t rush through it. Strategies are organised plans that you put in place to achieve the goal. Plans can be changed, modified or updated but the goal stays the same.
A change in lifestyle will cost you. Count the cost. Is it worth it? Can you afford it? Can you make time for it?
In Luke 14:28
For which of you, wishing to build a farm building,
does not first sit down and calculate the cost [to see]
whether he has sufficient means to finish it?
So count the cost.
It could cost you to buy books, equipment/tools (think Vitamix, juicer, blender,weights) or gym membership. It could cost you time.
Change in lifestyle does not only have to do with eating healthy and exercising, it also includes many others things like reading books, getting enough rest, dressing, positive thinking,laughing and many other things.
A lifestyle that I adopted years ago was saving money. I incorporated it into my life. To this day I save money out of habit and not only when I have a huge investment project or something to buy (or travel somewhere).
If you want long-term major changes in your life work on changing your perspective/ mindset as well as changing your lifestyle.
Fantasize about the goal but also imagine yourself doing the things that must be done to get there.
Time for a lifestyle change!