When we first make the decision to get healthy and to make positive changes to our lifestyle, it can feel really overwhelming. It can seem like there are so many things that can improve your health and wellness but it’s difficult to know where to start. The good news is that there is a small- yet powerful- way that you can get started- and that’s with your mindset!
It doesn’t matter what habits and actions you try to change and put into practice, it is only with the right mindset that a long-lasting difference will happen- and the changes will be a lot easier to make too. Mindset is sometimes called “the story we tell ourselves.” It’s our attitude toward things in our life and is something that we have all the control over.
Mindset is far from a woo-woo concept. Research is showing that it may be far more powerful than we thought. Here’s a quick story about a fascinating study.
Researchers at Stanford University looked at a bunch of people's health and wellness lifestyle habits, as well as health markers. What they found was that the people who thought they were a lot less active had a higher risk of death than the general public. And, they also had up to 71% higher risk of death than people who thought they were more active- even if they actually weren't less active!
How is this even possible that people who simply thought they were less active had higher risks, even if it wasn’t true?
There are a couple of ideas why. One is that maybe if we feel like we're less active, it may make us feel more stressed. And stress isn't good for our mental or physical health. Second, there may be a bit of a mind-body connection where the body embodies what the mind visualises.
Researchers don't know why, but what is important is that there is a good mindset. So, let me give you a couple of strategies to boost your mindset so the next time you make changes to your health, they actually stick!
Health mindset strategy 1 - Aim for good enough
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that almost no one eats perfectly seven days a week. Nope, not even me! Actually, obsessing over the quality and quantity of everything we eat or drink isn’t a great mindset to have.
By striving for perfection, it sets us up for failure, which in turn can bring on binge eating, shame, and guilt - none of these emotions are great to have if we want to get healthy. We want to get healthier by making better choices and building better habits. And these are usually best done incrementally, one step at a time.
So, instead of having a black and white approach where everything we eat is good or bad, why not try aiming for good enough to empower ourselves to make better choices, instead of perfect choices.
Health mindset strategy 2 - Stop making trade-offs
When you try to earn a treat weekend by eating clean during the week, you're making a trade-off. You're telling yourself that, as long as you're good most of the week, you can go wild on the weekend.
And that's not awesome because the mindset is jumping from one extreme to the other. You're controlling what you do all week, and possibly thinking about how to indulge over the weekend. It is a much better approach to live as though you're trying to do the best you can and to live well every single day. You do this because you care about your health and wellness and want to look and feel good, and know that so long as you're doing your best, then that's more than good enough. Taking an intuitive approach to eating is better for your overall mindset as well as the results you will achieve in the longer term.
Having a positive mindset for health can be a powerful tool for better physical health. There’s a proven mind-body connection that research can measure. Thinking positively and dropping the black/white and good/bad labels, can help you reach your health goals more quickly and effectively.
How is your mindset for health? Which of these tips resonate with you the most? How are you going to implement them in your life? Let me know in the comments below.