How Can I Get Motivated to Lower My Cholesterol?

In order to do anything new, you must really want to do it. You have to have a desire to get started on a project. Then you need even more motivation to stick with it. And perhaps the biggest challenge is to keep going even if you can't see the end in sight.

You may realize that to stay where you are is not healthy. So it's good to know that you don't have to spin your wheels in the same place forever. Or, maybe you've seen other people in your situation begin to confront their condition and take steps to live a healthier life. They may serve as inspiration to get you started.

Try taking these positive actions to get you moving in healthier directions.

Use positive self-talk. Make positive statements to yourself. Whenever a situation comes up that feels challenging, hear yourself saying things like "I can do this," or "This is possible for me." You can even make a tape recording of your voice saying encouraging things. Play the tape to yourself while driving in your car or before you go to bed.

Write your goals, your thoughts, and your feelings in a journal. Writing allows you to express yourself on paper. You can put down every detail so that you can get perspective on it when you reread it later on. Writing down your goals not only helps you remember them; it gives you a way to mark your progress over time.

Go over the pros and cons. Think of yourself in the middle of a force field. There are two magnets pulling at you. One pulls you toward your old thinking and behavior. The other pulls you toward new, positive challenges. Make a list of all the things on each side and weigh them carefully. You may find that some of your positives are also negatives. For example, if you watch how much fat you eat, it is a pro because you are controlling your calories from fat. But if you are so preoccupied with what you put into your mouth that you can't enjoy a meal, it is also a con.

Mark your calendar. Give yourself dates on which you are going to take even the smallest steps toward healthier behavior. For instance, set a date to cook a new recipe or try a new kind of exercise.

Give yourself a physical reminder. Take a few moments to really think about why you want to make healthy changes and to give yourself a pep talk about how capable you are at succeeding. When you feel really positive about what's ahead, do something physical. For instance, turn your ring around on your finger three times or simply touch the inside of your wrist. When you find yourself in a challenging situation, do that action again. Touch your wrist or turn that ring. Doing so will remind you of your good feelings and beliefs in yourself. Imagine that you energizing yourself with all your positive energies with the turn of the ring or gentle touch.

Set goals with a buddy. It's often easier to change if you have someone to do it with you. If you have a friend who is also trying to make healthy changes, you can help each other. Get yourself some stick-on gold stars. Make a chart with all of your goals and when you want to do them. Paste the gold stars on the chart next to your goals as you accomplish them.

Start slowly and build on your success. Try the easy things first so you can grow more and more confident about your changes. For things that seem harder, try breaking them down into more manageable steps until you reach your goal. For instance, if you know you need to give up the fat in whole milk or ice cream but can't stand the thought of skim, try 2% for a few weeks. Then move to 1%. Then try skim again. You can set up similar step-by-step goals with exercise. Each time you make any step in the healthier direction - no matter how small - compliment yourself for your efforts. Doing so helps you feel like a winner. And when you feel like a winner, you are more apt to make positive and healthy choices for yourself.

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