January isn’t everyone’s favourite month. However, the start of the year feels like a good time to create new goals and targets. But if you don’t manage to get going in January, why not start in February or wherever you are? There’s never a bad time to get started.
Go at your own pace
Some people may find it easier to start following all the steps straight away, while others may prefer to break it down and ease themselves into the changes. It’s important to be kind and easy on yourself when first getting started. For it can take time to settle yourself in.
If easing yourself in is more your style, perhaps pick a couple of areas to improve at a time or gradually, start with a few changes to your meals or begin with five minutes of meditation with the mindset to grow your understanding, time and enjoyment. Remember to pick goals that suit you.
Plan when and where
When making changes, it helps if you can be specific about what you are going to do, exactly when and where. This could be ‘I will eat OMS friendly meals on Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday’ or ‘I will do an exercise video or class at 11am on a Saturday morning’. Use our downloadable planners, including our monthly goal tracker, to help you. Set an alarm, reminder or write it in your diary to make sure you remember.
Try and make any changes you are making as easy as possible to achieve. If you are planning a 30-minute walk, could you build this into your daily routine, by walking somewhere you would usually drive to?
Think about your barriers and come up with solutions
There will always be things that get in the way of your plans, but problem-solving in advance can help you follow through with the changes you want to make.
Time – Is there something you can give up to have more time (e.g., social media scrolling or binge watching).
Money – If a gym membership is too expensive, are there free online videos you can use, or could you buy some second-hand gym equipment for at home? If a paid for meditation app is too expensive, we have some free guided videos online.
Energy – Make a plan A, B and C that work for different circumstances, so you are always able to do some level of exercise and/or meditation, no matter how much time or energy you have.
Health – This may be out of your control, so remember to work around what’s possible and be easy on yourself. You can only do what you can.
Remember to celebrate all the small wins! And remind yourself that the ultimate reason you are making these changes is to improve your health and quality of life.
Engage with the OMS team and community
Sometimes you just want to talk to someone who is going through the same thing as you. Our OMS Circles offer a great place to connect with other ‘OMSers’ online. You can Join an OMS Circle here.
We love hearing from our community, so if you have any questions, we would be more than happy to help and/or point you in the right direction. Please contact us so that we can support you on your journey.
Often, it's easier to feel inspired and motivated to make lifestyle changes when you read about how other people with MS have overcome similar challenges. Others’ experiences can be comforting and provide real insight into how you can lead your best life. Explore real stories of people who are following the program here.
Remain positive and keep going
Research has found that it can take 10 weeks for behaviour change to become habit. So, try and carry on even if you face set-backs. Those are part of the process!
Even if you let things slide for a couple of weeks, don’t give up. Know it’s okay to fail as long as you come back to it! Try and get back to healthy habits or reframe your goals, it might help to remember that no one is perfect and there is no right way.
You may not feel changes straight away, but it is worth sticking at the program for the long-term, please don’t feel disheartened. By following all the steps, however best works for you, these simple changes can have a huge difference on your wellbeing and how you live with MS.
Reminder: Be kind to yourself and do what you can.
Resources from Overcoming MS to help you…