How to change your habits for a healthier lifestyle
From your eating habits to your exercise routine, the choices that you make in your life can have a significant effect on your health. Weight, diet, activity level and other factors like alcohol and nicotine consumption all contribute to high blood pressure.
While medications can help control your high blood pressure, the most effective way to improve your health and take control of your blood pressure is by changing all of your bad habits and living a healthier life.
In this guide, we’ll share four strategies that you can use to make changing your bad habits – from smoking to lack of exercise – an easier, less stressful and more action-focused process.
Stay focused on the results
High blood pressure has a wide range of negative health effects. Many of these can be fatal if ignored for too long. From heart disease to kidney failure, the bad health effects of high blood pressure are very serious and should not be ignored.
It’s easy to focus on the negatives of high blood pressure and ignore the fact that it’s entirely possible to change your habits and improve your health. By focusing on the end result – in this case, healthy blood pressure – you can change your habits.
Write down your goal – whether it’s a gradual reduction in your blood pressure in the next month or a concrete figure – and stay focused on it. When you’re focused entirely on your goal, it becomes far easier to change your bad habits.
Ask your family to help you
Does your partner do the household shopping? If so, make it clear to them that you are committing to living a healthier life and that processed foods high in sodium or fat are no longer allowed.
A key part of success is surrounding yourself with supportive people. From family to friends, tell the people you spend your time with that you’re making changes to your habits and lifestyle and ask them to support you.
Telling other people that you’re making positive changes not only encourages them to be helpful and supportive; it also holds you accountable for achieving your goals and not slipping back into old, unhealthy habits that cause high blood pressure.
Speak to your doctor first
When confronted with the fact that they have high blood pressure, some people will make immediate, drastic changes to their lifestyle. From exercise to diet, sometimes it’s best to change your habits gradually than to make rapid, sweeping changes.
For example, if you’ve never exercised before, starting an intense exercise routine could have negative health effects. You could become exhausted and give up early, or the demanding routine and diet could be affected by any medication you take.
Before you make any changes to your diet or lifestyle, speak to your doctor to make sure that you’re making the right changes at the right pace. Slow, gradual change is often a far better way to adopt healthy habits than rapid, unplanned decisions.
Plan your daily routine to stay accountable
Before you go to sleep every night, have your meals, medications and exercise listed in a detailed plan for the day. Preparing for your next day in advance helps to make lifestyle and diet changes permanent instead of just temporary.
As well as planning ahead of time, you can prepare ahead of time. If you usually eat fast food during your workday lunch break, plan ahead of time and prepare a salad or other low-sodium meal at home and store it in the fridge for the next morning.
Planning and preparation are the keys to successful personal change. From diet to exercise, make the lifestyle changes necessary to lower your blood pressure part of your daily routine and you’ll find it easier to follow through on them.