Nine qualities it takes to live a healthy life
What does it take to live a healthy life? Why are some people able to maintain a healthy lifestyle while others just can’t quite seem to stay on track?
I have always wondered this. After all, I’m not really all that special. I’m just an average woman who tries to eat as healthy as I can and exercise on a regular basis. Why am I able to stick with a healthy lifestyle while other people I know are not?
So I thought about that for a few minutes, and I came up with a list of qualities I think it takes to life a healthy life and stick to it.
First, you have to have a desire to be as healthy as you can be. But desire is not all it takes. I know many people who want to be healthier, but they just can’t seem to start in the first place or stay with it.
So it also takes dedication and commitment. It takes a mindset to consider healthy living a lifelong choice, not just a temporary thing.
It also takes a lot of honesty, mostly with yourself. You have to be willing to look at your life and your habits critically, and be willing to admit when you are not doing something as well as you could be. You have to be willing to not make excuses for the areas that need improvement, and you have to be willing to change.
You also have to possess enough courage to embark on a healthy path and stick with it. This is especially essential if you have a lot of changes to make. If you are eating a lot of unhealthy foods now and not exercising at all, or if you need to lose a lot of weight, you’ll have to tap into the courage to tell your family and friends – and yourself – that you want to be better, that you want to make some changes. You may have to find the courage to stand up to those who ask why you are doing it or tell you that you can’t do it. You have to find the courage to tell yourself over and over that it’s worth it.
Living a healthy life also takes just a little bit of defiance – the defiance to do what you need to do even when others don’t. I would, however, advise you to keep your defiance to yourself. It’s not a good idea to criticize your friends’ choice of foods; otherwise they won’t be your friends for very long. Simply go for your healthy choice, no matter what they may choose.
You also have to defy all our societal messages for easy, fast foods. Healthy foods are not easy, nor are they fast. I spend quite a bit of time each week slicing my greens and vegetables for my salad. I do so because I am defying the easy path – which would be to go out for a hamburger and french fries.
Along with defiance, a good quality to have to live a healthy life is a bit of defensiveness. In an ideal world, you shouldn’t have to defend or explain yourself. But people will ask why you are eating a salad when everyone else is having pizza or why you don’t want a piece of chocolate cake. And you need to be prepared to answer, strongly and honestly.
Another important quality for living a healthy life is compassion and forgiveness toward yourself. You won’t always be perfect. There will be times when the right foods won’t be available to you, or you just won’t have the will to pass up that huge slab of chocolate cake. It’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up, consider yourself a failure or give up on your healthy lifestyle just because of one piece of chocolate cake. Vow to do better next time.
Living a healthy lifestyle also takes a willingness to grow, learn and change. Your body’s needs will change over time. What you need to maintain your weight in your 20s and 30s may not be what you need in your 40s and 50s and beyond. Health and nutrition experts are also constantly uncovering new information. You need to always be finding and learning new health and nutrition information so you can look at it critically and apply it to your life. You’ll need to make adjustments, but once you have a healthy foundation in place, it’s not so hard to tweak it here and there.
Finally, you need the perseverance to stick with a healthy lifestyle over the long haul. You’re not just doing it for this week, this month or this year. You’re doing this for your whole life. You will need to constantly renew your commitment and remind yourself why it’s important to you.
Living a healthy life is the most important thing you can do, not only for yourself, but also for your family and friends. If you can tap into some of these qualities, you stand a much better chance of getting healthy and staying that way.
These are the qualities that help me. What qualities would you add to the list that have helped you or someone you know life a healthy life? Leave me a comment!