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About Smart Steps
becoming healthier and happier
Step by step and the thing is done. - Charles Atlas
Smart Steps are small changes that can be made to help you become healthier and happier. For me, one naturally follows the other. If I feel healthy, it makes me happy. The Smart Steps I have taken are small achievable changes I made and I’m still making to my life, to reduce bad habits and to start new good ones. I started by doing it just for me. It works so well that I want to share how I do it and as a wellness coach I'm helping others become healthier and happier.
My website is all about wellness and being good to yourself. I write about the steps I take to become healthier and happier. You may find ideas here that will work for you, too.
I write about the healthy choices I make and how they make me feel. I'm also a yoga teacher and am passionate about helping others become healthier and happier.
When I was deciding what I should do to be healthier and happier, what actions I should take and not take, and what they should look like, I tried to make sure that I would take small easy STEPS and that they would indeed be SMART.
I do a lot of research using scientific papers to check on advice I give. Some Smart Steps seem really obvious but some times we only need to make the effort do do, or not do something and create the right circumstances to do it.
I wanted to become mindful of improving my wellness and I achieve this by making conscious decisions about how I’m living my life.
Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible. - Tony Robbins
This is my story. It's not rocket science (or jet engineering) but I was eating the wrong things and living a sedentary lifestyle which made me unhealthy and overweight. I decided that I didn't want to be unhealthy any more and now that I am healthier and happier and improving every day, I want to share my secrets.
I'm on a journey to become healthier and happier. Each time I find a new Smart Step that works for me, I'll write about it. Keep reading, it may work for you too!
Move Smart and Eat Smart
I’ve heard that to lose weight I should “eat less and move more”, but what does that mean? This philosophy is unhelpful and for many people with real lives, unachievable. Everybody is different and we all have lots of complicated factors ruling our lives including work, family, home, emotion, motivation etc. A one-size fits all approach doesn’t work. That would be a short-term solution to a long-term (lifetime) issue.
So I tweaked this philosophy to “Eat Smart and Move Smart” to be healthier, rather than to just lose weight. This way changes can be made more easily like building blocks to a foundation. This will support making significant sustainable changes, helping to become healthier and happier. But that's not enough. We need to live as well, so I added in Laugh Smart.
I split the Smart Steps I have taken into three main sections:
Laugh Smart is cool fun stuff to do, not necessarily related to food or moving the body, but just things that have made me feel better, calm my mind and some of them helped to simplify my life. It's important to have wellness of the mind as well as the body and to do things that make you happy.
As with so many aspects of life, it’s important to achieve a good balance: balanced movement and balanced nutrition.
For example, I love cake but I haven’t given up eating it (more about cake later), but I don’t eat it every day and I no longer crave it.
For balanced movement, I practice and teach yoga. This is great for so many aspects of life. Yoga really is for everyone. On the days when I don't do a full yoga practice, even doing a few basic stretches every day is good. I also love dancing – what can be better than that? I have great ideas on other ways to move as well.
I must have been operating on autopilot for a long time and doing the same old things week in and week out. Life is much easier that way.
At first I thought I was too busy to make any changes or improvements to my life. Making changes always seems like such a big task involving a lot of effort.
I realised that life is for living and a journey, not a destination and that I need to take control and not just let things happen to me. Now I take more conscious decisions and create new good habits nearly every day.
By making changes slowly step-by-step, the idea of making improvements seems so much easier. There is no need to completely overhaul your whole life overnight. The thought of doing it gradually at your own pace is very appealing. Smart Steps are what I call bite-sized which means they are small enough to accomplish easily.
Why Smart Steps?
There are many ways of using the word SMART as an acroynm. I wanted to use reminders that would help me understand why and how I'm making changes. Here are the meanings that I use, with examples relating to drinking more water.
What will I do?
Example: I will drink at least
8 glasses of water every day
Why will I do it?
Example: I need to keep my
body properly hydrated
How will I do it?
Example: I will space out my
drinks of water during the day
Where will I find time and
resources to do it?
Example: I will take water
with me everywhere I go,
every meeting, when I'm
How long will I do it for?
Example: I will try it for two
weeks then review if it's
working for me
(adjective) showing intelligence
For example: That's a smart thing to do!
(noun) an action or process taken to
achieve a goal easily and naturally,
as if by a simple step of the foot
For example: I will take steps to eat the right things and move my body and this will make me feel better about myself.
What Smart Steps are not...
a restrictive diet
an exercise programme
rigid rules and regulations
a short-term solution to an unhealthy lifestyle
One important thing to remember is that everyone has their own life and there is no grand plan.
Using the trial and error approach, I try something new and see how it goes. I generally give it a week or two to test how it feels.
Taking Smart Steps is not intended to be a short-term fad, but long-term sustainable life changes. It's about creating habits (good ones) that will just come naturally in time and not feel like a chore or something that you feel you have to forcing yourself to do.
Success doesn't come from willpower alone; it needs to be something that can be maintained. This has come from seeing and feeling results. That’s a great motivator. For me, seeing and feeling the results of becoming healthier make me happier so the outcome is worth more than any effort I’m putting in.
If it isn't working for me, it could be that the timing isn't right, but I might try it again later. I then try something else and see if I can sustain it and enjoy it.
I usually start by doing something I think I should. If it doesn’t become a good habit that I start to enjoy, I’ll drop it. Sometimes I’ll try again another time...sometimes not.
If I don't like something, or chose not to continue something, that’s ok. The person who would benefit (or not) from a positive change is the individual trying it. The only one who would know that you didn’t continue with it is you. For me, I don't see it as a failure or feel bad about it. I feel positive when I have eliminated something that's not working for me and am optimistic about trying something else instead. I feel no guilt for that!