7 Smart Ways to Turn Your 'Buts' Into Action

As a health and wellness coach, I've heard every excuse in the book for not achieving or pursuing a desired goal. From time constraints and work responsibilities to money issues, food temptations and emotional roadblocks, the brain has a funny way of playing devil's advocate when it comes to health and fitness. No matter who we are or what our desired wellness goal is, the reality is that we are going to face some inner resistance.

However, the true test is how we push past the obstacles that are in our way to finally reach and conquer our goals. Remember, you are in the driver's seat for your health and wellness, the next time a "but" comes in the way of your desired goals, stop for a moment, gather your thoughts and emotions, and change that "but" into a "win" to regain control and reach your desired goals.

"I want to be healthier, BUT I do not know how or where to start."
Win: "I want to be healthier, so I am going to start out with small changes.

When it comes to healthy eating and physical activity, there is so much conflicting information out there. It's not uncommon to get overwhelmed very quickly, causing you to shut down and end up not doing anything with the information.

More often than not, big changes start with small shifts. If you are trying to improve your eating habits, become more active, establish a better sleep schedule or improve your mental health, avoid undergoing a total lifestyle makeover. Instead, start with one small change a week, then add on as the weeks go by. Small changes could be things like giving your refrigerator a makeover, walking for 10 minutes a day, boosting your water intake, adjusting your sleep environment or starting your day off with a mindfulness or meditation practice.

"I want to exercise, BUT I cannot afford a gym membership."
Win: "I want to exercise, so I am going to follow a free workout program."

With technology at our fingertips, why not take advantage of it? You do not have to have a gym membership to be physically active; there are many great reputable and free workout options for you to try. Seek out workouts from certified trainers, and be conscious of form while exercising at home. During warm weather months, take advantage of the outdoors and get some exercise in through walking, jogging, hiking, swimming or kayaking.

"I want to eat healthier, BUT it seems too complicated for me."
Win: "I want to eat healthier, so I am going to focus on small dietary changes."

There is no magic food out there, but there are a lot of complicated diets. You do not have to fall for one of the unrealistic, unobtainable fad diets out there. Instead, start out simple and small. By simply focusing on eating more fruits and vegetables throughout the day, varying your veggie intake, making at least half of your grains whole grains, switching to lean meats and cuts, trying a meatless meal once a week, focusing on portion control, tracking your food and beverage intake and preparing ahead of time before going out to eat, you'll notice significant changes in both your energy levels and weight.

"I want to eat healthier, BUT I cannot afford healthy foods."
Win: "I want to eat healthier, so I will create a food budget each month and research ways to eat healthy on a budget."

Healthy eating does not have to break the bank. Before you resign yourself to fast food lines and processed snacks, research ways to eat healthy on a budget. Creating a meal plan, for example, will help cut down on food waste, and cooking more at home is better for your bank account. You can also make a conscious effort to avoid shopping while hungry to reduce impulse buys, buy in bulk and in season, use coupons to your advantage, remix leftovers and look for bargains at your local farmers market. If you really want to expand your options, consider taking up gardening to grow your own food!

"I want to cook more at home, BUT I am not skilled in the kitchen."
Win: "I want to cook more at home, so I will find simple,healthy recipes to try."

Despite what famous chefs might have you think, there's no need to use lengthy, detailed recipes to cook healthy meals. Instead of stressing out about how to cook, focus on enjoying the process! As a working mother, I choose simple recipes instead of reinventing the wheel and creating meals from scratch. As long as you are choosing the right ingredients and foods, you are creating health and balanced meals for your family to enjoy!

"I want to lose weight, BUT it is so overwhelming and I always give up."
Win: "I want to lose weight, so I am going to take one step at a time to work my way up to my goal."

When trying to lose weight, it is important to honest and realistic with yourself and your weight-loss capabilities. Creating unrealistic and unattainable goals for ourselves sets us up for failure before the starting gun even goes off. Set yourself up for success by taking the journey one step and one pound (or even ½ pound) at a time.

"I want to adapt new healthy habits in my life, BUT I do not have a positive support system".
Win: "I want to adapt new healthy habits in my life, so I will focus on my "why" and know that I am in the driver's seat.

Why is this journey important to you? Why does it matter to those around you? Why will this make a difference for my life in the long run? Answering these questions honestly before your journey begins will help you maintain perspective as you navigate the ups and downs of your weight loss. If you find that the people in your life are not supportive, use those answers to reinforce your determination. Remember that this journey is personal and you're responsible for being your own biggest cheerleader.

If you find yourself in need of a support system, look outside your personal circle and seek out people going through similar journeys. Find a weight-loss group on social media or make a point of talking to your co-worker who's always talking about her mission to lose weight. If you're uncomfortable discussing the details of this huge lifestyle change, consider contacting a health and wellness expert who can further support and assist you.