Members of the Messiah community share their thoughts on change
I would recommend a couple of things. First have both long and short term goals. You run a mile one step at a time, lose weight one pound at a time.In rehabilitating long term injuries, we break up the long term goals into "bite size chunks". An athlete who is going to take 6 months to rehab his or her knee, gets there by setting short term, attainable goals, maybe two weeks at a time. By doing so, one will ultimately get to the long term goal, and will get a lot of positive reinforcement along the way .
Also, have some accountability. For athletes rehabilitating injuries, I provide that accountability along with coaches, etc. An accountability partner can help you stay on track, provide positive reinforcement when you are on track, and offer encouragement when perhaps you don't reach a short-term goal.
Lastly, keep track. Keep an exercise diary if exercise is your goal. Seeing your progress can be very encouraging and can help you show progress. Small success can breed bigger success. Commit to keeping track for at least a month or more with your partner or group. The longer the time period, the more likely it is to become a part of your lifestyle.
First figure out what needs to change. You may want to prioritize things, either based on what you feel you can change most readily or on what needs to change based on your health situation. This may mean keeping a food or activity diary, or getting a few basic things checked by your physician or a health care provider if you are having difficulty with your health (blood pressure, cholesterol, etc).
When you have decided what to change, start with challenging but attainable goals. If you are not active, start with a walking or basic fitness program, such as a wellness program. Start by changing a 2-3 small things, such as eating 5 vegetables/fruits a day and eliminating soda or fried foods. Pack your lunch with healthy foods instead of buying fattier, processed meals on the go. Simple changes can go a long way.
Be a good, honest listener. Many times people who are going through serious illness and injuries feel very isolated. They feel like others don't understand what they are going through. Sometimes others around the injured or ill person feel uncomfortable because they don't know what to say. In those cases, let the person vent. You can't solve the problem, and often those folks aren't looking for solutions, just the ability to share their fears, disappointments, etc. I have told many moms whose daughter has had a season ending injury that her job now involves pom poms (cheering her daughter on) and knee pads (prayer for her daughter).
Senior Lecturer/Athletic Trainer
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