9 January 2018
As we cheer in the new year, we also often reflect on what we could do to improve our health and wellbeing. Goals that can help improve the chances of having a baby include losing some weight, eating a healthier diet, increasing physical activity, and stopping smoking. This applies to both women and men.
With some planning and some consistent effort, you can work towards achieving your health and wellbeing goals. The following three tips can help you on your way:
1. Be clear about what you wish to change or improve
What is it exactly that you want to change? Do you want to start exercising, so you can improve your fitness? Maybe you want to quit smoking to help increase your chances of conceiving a healthy baby. Or maybe you would like to lose some weight, or eat more healthy meals.
Once you are clear about what you want to change, set some SMART goals. Goal setting in this way helps you focus on exactly what it is that you want to achieve, as well as what action you’re going to take to get there.
SMART goals are:
- S – Specific (what is it precisely you wish to change?)
- M – Measurable (how will you measure it?)
- A – Achievable (can you do it?)
- R – Realistic (is it within your current work-life constraints?)
- T – Time-frame (how long will it take you? One month? Three? Longer?)
State each goal as a positive statement and write it down in the present tense. For example – ‘I’m going to replace soft drinks with sparkling water and lemon for the next month’.
Once you are clear about what you want to achieve, the next step is to create an action plan. Focus on the exact steps that you’re going to take to help you achieve your goal. The key is to consistently put the new behaviour or actions into practice until they become routine and part of your lifestyle. Review them regularly to help keep you on track.
Remember that change requires regular steps every day towards a larger goal, and this takes time.
2. Believe that you can achieve your goals
Whether ‘you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right’ (quote from Henry Ford), tell yourself today that you can and will achieve your goal, and by doing so, you are more likely to be successful.
Focus on the small wins you are making along the way to help increase your confidence. Your self-belief in your ability to make the change is critical to your success.
3. Don’t be afraid of ‘falling off the wagon or relapsing’
There will be times where you will revert to your old behaviour. For many people, it is often the time they give up and stop pursuing their goal.
Rather than reverting to comfortable behaviours and thought patterns, learn from the experience and start again.
Don’t punish yourself for relapsing, as this is a normal part of changing our usual behaviour. Instead, think about what led you back and what you could do differently next time.
Richard Branson summarises this point nicely, ‘Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.’
If you want to improve your health and wellbeing, today is a great day to get started. Set some SMART goals and put some plans in place. Believe in yourself and don’t be afraid of setbacks – focus on the small victories along the way, and keep moving forward. Every step you take, is a step in the right direction.
Even though behaviour change is initially difficult, with consistent effort and action, it is possible.
For men and women, improving your health and wellbeing is one way to improve your chances of getting pregnant.