You want to make healthy changes. Congratulations! That's the first step toward improving your health. Get the most out of your motivation by turning your goals into action.
To make changes that stick, here are tried-and-true tools for success.
1. Define your goals.
Reaching a healthy weight or a healthy blood pressure range is great. But when goals are too broad, it's hard to achieve them. Instead, it helps to focus on goals that are SMART. That stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Here's how your general goals could transform into SMART goals:
- "I want to lose 10 pounds (specific and measurable) in the next four months (time-bound). That would be an average of half a pound a week. So it should be achievable. It's relevant because I also want to bring down my cholesterol."
Read more about how you can make SMART goals work for you.
2. Get the right gear.
You wouldn't head into a soccer match without a ball, cleats and shin guards. Other goals are no different: You need the right gear. Here are some examples of gear you'll need to meet different health goals:
Lower your blood pressure. Get a blood pressure cuff. You may be able to get one for free from Teladoc. Or your insurance might have other options for you. You might even be able to check one out from your local library.
- Lowering your blood pressure. Get a blood pressure cuff. You may be able to get one for free from Teladoc Health. Or your insurance might have other options for you. You might even be able to check one out from your local library.
- Lowering your blood sugar. When you have diabetes, it's important to check your blood sugar often and accurately. For that, you need a glucose monitor. You can get these at pharmacies and drugstores in your area. But you may also be eligible for Teladoc Health benefits. Check here to find out if Teladoc Health can send you one!
- Walking/exercising more. Good sneakers and workout clothes make exercise easier, safer and more comfortable. Get the kind of clothes and shoes that make you feel energized and confident! You can even find great deals online or at secondhand stores.
- Eating healthier. Depending on how much you like to cook, consider getting some extra cooking gear. A rice cooker is great for easily cooking up whole grains. And a multi-cooker makes cooking soups, stews and dried beans simple!
- Quitting smoking. Quitting tobacco is one of the best things you can do for your health. But it's often not easy. Consider using a nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT) product, such as patches or nicotine gum. Many people find it helpful to have something extra to chew on. Sugar-free gum, raw carrots or wooden toothpicks are great options. And you might like something to keep your hands and mind busy, like smartphone puzzle games or a free language-learning app.
Think about the gear you'll need to achieve your goal. Then make a plan to get it. This is an investment that sets you up for success.
3. Tap into support.
Even the most independent person can use a helping hand. Tapping into support can make all the difference when you're changing up your lifestyle.
There are many ways to reach out for support. Start with your healthcare team. Discuss your goals with your doctor and ask them if there are more resources to tap into. That might mean another professional, like a dietitian or trainer, or perhaps a support group. For instance, you may join a diabetes self-management education and support program.
Don't forget to reach out to your friends, family and coworkers! Support from loved ones might mean getting buy-in from your spouse about changing up family meals. It could mean telling friends online you are going to quit smoking and on what date. You can also get coworkers to join you in your healthy behavior changes. For instance, you could change up your usual lunch restaurant to something healthier. Or you could turn a seated meeting into a short stroll.
4. Use medications as prescribed.
Medications are crucial tools for reaching many health goals. They could be used to lower blood pressure, manage diabetes, quit smoking, balance emotions and more. But it's important to use meds as prescribed.
If you have trouble remembering to take pills, you may want to set up reminders on your phone. You could enroll in automatic refills from your pharmacy. Or sign up with a mail-order pharmacy so you don't run out.
If you're running into other barriers, discuss them with your healthcare provider. They might have suggestions or refer you to a health coach.
5. Don't give up.
Don't forget that you have the power to make changes in your life. No matter what age, size or ability, you can reach a healthier version of yourself.
If you ever feel discouraged, try imagining what success looks like. Envision yourself after you've made healthy changes. What does your life look like? What do your relationships look like? How does your body feel? What kinds of things are you able to do that you couldn't before? When the road gets bumpy, remind yourself of that vision so you can keep yourself motivated.
It may take some planning and commitment. But remember you are not alone. Reach out to Teladoc Health and find out what help we may be able to offer you!