Updated: Mar 6, 2022
Lifestyle changes can be highly impactful in helping you find your remission. There are many researchers, authors and thought-leaders to follow to find the right fit for you. What we have seen in our work is that whatever program or path you choose, it needs to be approached mindfully, thoughtfully and at your own pace for it to stick. Small steps over time add up to a healthy lifestyle that can make a difference in overcoming a diagnosis.
Changes you make to your lifestyle should be permanent, not temporary. But don’t get discouraged if you aren’t perfect (none of us are), or if something isn’t working, reassess and make modifications. After you give it three months to infuse into your routine, it may be time to add in something else. Your body continually changes and so should you.
Here are 5 tips that make a difference in implementing lifestyle changes into your everyday life.
1. Have a Game Plan - Having a strategy on HOW you want to implement change is key to success. In some of our workshops we guide you to create a 1-week, 1-month and 6-month game plan which outlines your goals, and the baby steps needed to take to achieve them. Its value can’t be understated, as it is a powerful tool to assist you in achieving your health and healing goals. Planning baby steps and micro-goals are important to create your path to achieving each healing factor you implement. Start with one that seems easy and attainable for you. The success of implementing the first one will empower you to try the next one.
2. Check Your Mindset - Your mindset plays a big part in your healing. According to Carol Dweck, author of Mindset, “the growth mindset is based on the belief in change”. So even if we have a fixed mindset, we can learn to have a growth mindset and come to believe it is possible to change. In our holistic (body-mind-spirit) cancer coaching practice, we encourage a deep dive into one’s mindset to determine the behaviors, activities and habits that could potentially be contributing to the creation of an environment that is hospitable to cancer. When we have a diagnosis, it is important to recognize that it is NOT our fault, but also very important to recognize what might need to change, like behaviors or thought patterns, in our lives so that our bodies can get back to healing, as it is designed to do.
3. Cultivate Self-Compassion - An explosion of research into self-compassion over the last decade has shown its benefits for well-being. Individuals who are more self-compassionate tend to have greater happiness, life satisfaction and motivation, better relationships and physical health, and less anxiety and depression. Who doesn’t want that, right?
They also have the resilience needed to cope with stressful life events, such as a chronic illness or a cancer diagnosis. Establishing a self-compassion practice is an integral foundation needed to provide the drive and motivation to continue to implement lifestyle change. Especially when we suffer a setback or just want to quit, self-compassion gives us the strength to push through and get back on the healing path when we fall off course (which inevitably happens to everyone at some point).
4. Utilize Visualization - Visualization is another extremely useful tool. We can use it to support the changes we want to make to help us ‘reprogram’ our minds. According to David Hamilton, author of “How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body”, “The important part with any visualization is to remember that you're turning a state of illness into wellness. Some people repeat illness to wellness every time they visualize, some focus on wellness alone.” You can spend anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour or more doing mental practices, either in a single session or spread out in smaller chunks throughout the day or week.
5. Apply Accountability - Accountability can help you stay on track and focused on achieving your goals. Staying accountable makes you more productive, ensures you manage your time better, will improve your overall performance, and increase your motivation to stay on track. When implementing the changes to your lifestyle, accountability can be a great tool to help you focus on your daily self-care routines and keep you motivated and on track when you hit bumps in the road. Having an accountability buddy is a great reciprocating relationship. And if you like to work alone, a simple checklist for your daily activities and healthy habits can provide great accountability. You can also work with a health coach!
So, create your game plan, then check your mindset, and self-compassion, start visualizing health, find an accountability partner and begin making slow and steady changes to optimize your lifestyle for health and healing. These are just some of the ways to help you implement change that can boost your immune system and find balance for healing mind, body, and spirit. If you want more help with your implementation, we are here for you!
Liz and Karla