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Once you recognize you want to make a change in a lifestyle behavior, such as the way you eat, the amount you want to exercise, or if you want to quit smoking, look at your expectations.

Are you still expecting quick results that last? Most of us need to change our expectations and realize that it takes time to make lifestyle changes.

And while this may be frustrating at times, the benefits are worth it. Positive lifestyle changes could give you more energy, reduced chance of serious disease, increased mobility, fewer colds and flus, improved memory, independence, stress relief, looking good and feeling good.

Even modest changes in middle age and later can have a dramatic impact on how long we live and how healthfully we live.

What is your reason for wanting to change?

“There can be thousands of reasons people might want to make change, but it needs to be internal, strong, and kind of gut level to be successful in the long term.”

“I wanted to never have to diet again.”

“I think as you get older, mortality starts to really matter. And I realize that without my health, I have nothing.”

“My next two years I’m gonna retire from work, and try to be as healthy as I can be when I retire, so I can spend my retirement check.”

If you are making the change for someone else, your chances of succeeding aren’t good. The reason you want to change should be your own.

To determine your readiness to change, answer the following questions about yourself: Do you really want to change at this time? Is change a good thing for you at this time? Are you ready to take it one step at a time?

If you are ready to make a change, then you are ready for the next step in the lifestyle change process -- making a plan to meet your goals.

But if you aren’t ready to make a change now, that’s okay

“If someone isn’t quite ready to make change, and they determine that they don’t want to at this time, it’s just a good idea for them to at least set the goal of coming back to it in the next three months to look and see, ‘Have I made any steps forward? Am I any more ready now? Have I identified the barriers to change?’ And to go from there.”

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