A lot of planning and preparation goes in. But I am at the point where I don’t mind putting in some extra time for more elaborate prepared meals.

For me, the biggest change was cooking all my own food and preparing my own lunches. You can do this a few different ways. The way that works for me is I set aside 90 minutes or so on Sunday after going food shopping, and I prepare all the food and lunches I need for the week.

I think the biggest pitfall with this is not using your schedule to your advantage. Most working folks tend to know their hours more or less for the upcoming week. This is a major advantage when it comes to planning ahead. Especially today, living in a major city, when restaurants with all kinds of food options are out there, it is so easy to get distracted.

Below are some key action steps you can take to develop that positive mindset and influence change for a better, healthier you:

Understand why you want to change: Do you want to lose weight? Feel better? get rid of those aching joints or skin rash? Spend more time playing with your kids? These motivating factors will help you implement and sustain the positive changes you are making.

Have a plan: If you want to make a change, that’s great but it is not enough and it is why you’re here, and I applaud you for that. You must have a practical, easy-to-follow plan to guide you on your journey. You can use those steps listed above to get you started.

Do not get held up with setbacks: Real life happens, and it is important to take this into account. Many times, it may feel easier to be more negative than positive. For example, if you eat healthy 4 days a week and not so much the other three, be sure to focus on that positive change and use it as a growing opportunity. Dwelling on negative circumstances only reinforces negative behavior. Concentrate on even the smallest of victories, and come up with a list (physical or mental) of things you did well that day, that week, and that month. Reflect back on what allowed you to enjoy those victories in the first place.

Seek out social support: Connection can be an extremely powerful thing. If you do not have a strong support system with your family and friends, try to look for groups with a mutual interest. Something as simple as taking a class, joining a book club, or volunteering can go a long way in helping you connect with others.

A lot of this is going to be about having a proactive mindset and a plan. Once you adopt this a routine, it becomes easier over the next coming weeks, and allows you to get more creative!

Hope this helps!