Monday, September 24, 2012

Victory Is Yours!

Our 60 days of the Healthier You Challenge have come and gone. How did you do? Most of you are probably like me: I made some good progress but didn't consistently meet all of my challenges. I assessed and tweaked along the way. I patted myself on the back some and kicked myself in the butt some. I didn't achieve major physical transformations but I do feel like I learned some valuable lessons and adopted some good behaviors along the way.

The challenges you set for yourself will largely determine how you assess your progress. Hopefully you wrote out your challenges so you can look back at them now to review what you've accomplished. Your challenges were supposed to be process-oriented rather than goal-oriented but you also stated desired outcomes. These are generally how we measure our success.

Here are a few of the responses I've gotten from people about the outcomes they've earned by challenging themselves to adopt healthy behaviors like quitting smoking, drinking more water, eating a healthier diet, exercising, taking vitamins, and sleeping more: 
  • Look younger
  • Breathe easier
  • Sleep better
  • Better digestion, fewer stomach aches
  • Less moody
  • Improved overall mood
  • Reduced stress
  • Fewer headaches
  • Improved relationships
  • Able to get things done more easily (housework, yardwork, etc)
  • Clothes fit better
  • Improved blood sugar levels
  • Improved blood pressure
  • Improved cholesterol levels
  • Fewer falls
  • More independent (have the strength and agility to lift, bend, carry, etc.)
  • Can put on underwear without holding on to the dresser (still my personal favorite!)
For any and all improvements in health behaviors, people generally find that they experience emotional changes as well. Many of us feel:
  • More confident
  • More competent
  • More energetic
  • Happier
  • More optimistic
When you change a health behavior successfully and feel the emotions above, you might also feel more able to take on other challenges in your life. The tools I've given you during the Healthier You Challenge can be applied to virtually any area of your life. Are you stressed about money? Do you feel rushed and anxious a lot? Are you afraid to have anyone over because your house is always messy? Are you unhappy with your performance at work? Why not set some challenges in these areas? Remember these key steps:
  1. State challenges in the positive
  2. Make your challenges process-oriented rather than goal oriented
  3. Make challenges Specific, Measurable, and Achievable
  4. Scaffold and Hook behaviors
  5. Log your behaviors
  6. Reassess and Tweak as needed
  7. Give yourself credit
  8. Keep challenging yourself in new ways as you maintain the behaviors you've already changed
  9. Make a fresh start if you need to
You can always refer back to previous posts if you need a refresher on any of these steps.

I'd love to hear from all of you about the changes you made, the benefits you earned, and what new challenges you are planning. Your experiences might help other people change their lives too!

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