richard-branson-quoteWhen we have a big goal in mind, the tendency is to endeavor to make huge, sweeping changes in our lives overnight. However, as any self-help book will tell you, the small changes that turn into habits that we can maintain over time are the forces that re-shape our lives. While sweeping change may be necessary, consistent daily tweaks to our routine form the glue that holds us on a new and healthier course.

Weight loss surgery is not a quick fix, but the beginning of a lifestyle change that will help you sustain your health, well-being, and allow you to age gracefully. The following habits are simple but extremely effective for shaping your life into what you dream it can be:

Get Up Early

Early to rise, early to do pretty much anything you set your mind to! According to Forbes, people who get up early are more likely to exercise, plan out their days, minimize potential problems before they come up, and get better sleep, since they are going to bed and waking up based on the Earth’s circadian rhythms, not when VHI plays classic 80s music videos (1am). 

Long story short, waking up 30 minutes to an hour before you need to start preparing for work or before your family rises can give you enough “you time” to feel satisfied with your life (goodbye, stress-eating), squeeze in a workout & bottle of water, all before your first cup of coffee.

Stay Positive

Staying positive does not mean living in a world of delusion, where unicorns roam and eat marshmallows all day. What it does mean is that, 90% of the time, you express gratitude for what you have and while taking proactive steps to change what you don’t like. Complaining drains your personal power and your joy, as well as the power and joy of those around you. Other than the occasional must-needed venting session (and we all need them sometimes), focus on what’s good and what you can do to fix what isn’t.

Exercise Regularly

Especially if you are entering a weight loss surgery program, this one is a no-brainer. Daily exercise of at least 30 minutes, which can include walking or stretching, is essential to keeping weight down and mood up. Remember all that positivity we talked about? Exercise helps the body release endorphins, or your body’s positivity and pain-numbing chemicals. Perform in the morning and near water (if possible) for best results.

Health note: The more you exercise, the more water you need to drink! Be sure to consume above and beyond the recommended 64 oz per day!

Read Regularly

Reading helps you learn new information about the world around you, validates your feelings and thoughts, and renews your mind. Highly successful people read different types of books and articles regularly to keep the mind sharp and informed. A book about nutrition is an excellent choice for anyone embarking on a weight loss surgery journey.

Take Risks

The bigger the risk, the bigger the potential reward. This does not mean you need to pack your gear now and head for Mount Everest. Rather, consider what you want to achieve in your life and don’t be afraid to do what you dream. It can feel risky to listen to your heart and gut when others tell you not to, but failing to do so can cause you to miss great opportunities.

Say No When Necessary

Thanks to the above quote by Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic, we know saying “yes” to our dreams is a great way to increase happiness and success. Sometimes, however, saying “yes” to ourselves means saying “no” to others.

Are you someone who is always doing for other people and rarely for yourself? Saying yes to every request and social obligation can burn you out, physically and mentally, and send you straight to the fridge for comfort food. Avoid this pitfall by listening to your stress level and saying “no” when you need a break. Your nearest and dearest will understand, and if they don’t, remember that you, and you alone, are responsible for your own health and mental well-being.

Learn From Your Heroes

Who do you look up to? The most successful people can cite examples of heroes who rocked their world and challenged them to take the risks necessary to becoming a happy, healthy individual.

Based on what the word “success” means to you, who are your role models? Perhaps they are family members, current or former teachers, career mentors, or even celebrities who have achieved what you want. Listen to their words, ask questions if possible, and read anything these people have written about achieving their own success. The fact that they caught your attention in the first place indicates your vision and the direction your dreams can take.

Simple habits, when performed consistently, become life-altering behaviors. If you choose just one of the above, your life could dramatically improve in ways you hoped for but never dreamed possible. Best of luck!