High Cholesterol - Making Lifestyle Changes
For more information about food and high cholesterol, see:
If high cholesterol runs in your family, these lifestyle changes may not be enough. You may need to take medicine, too. But no matter what treatment you use, you can lower your high cholesterol.
How do you make lifestyle changes?
Making any kind of change in the way you live your
daily life is like being on a path. The path leads to success. You get there one step at a time. Here are the
first steps on that path:
- Have your own reason for making a change. If you do it because someone else wants you
to, you're less likely to have success.
- Set goals. Include long-term goals as well as short-term goals that you can
- Measure improvements to
your health. For example, keep track of your blood pressure, cholesterol, or
blood sugar. Or see how you can shorten the time it takes to walk a mile.
- Think about what might get in your way, and
prepare for slip-ups.
- Get support from your
family, your doctor, your friends-and from yourself.
1. Have your own reasons for making a change
Your reason for wanting to make a lifestyle change is really important.
Why do you want to lower your cholesterol? To live longer? To be around for your family?
But it's very important that you feel
ready to make changes. If you don't feel ready now, learn more about high cholesterol and the damage it can do. When you truly want to make changes, you're
ready for the next step.
It's not easy to make changes. But
taking the time to really think about what will motivate or inspire you will
help you reach your goals.
2. Set goals you can reach
Ask yourself if you feel ready to begin taking steps
toward big goals. If you're not ready yet, try to pick a date when you will
start making small changes. Any healthy change-no matter how small-is a good
When you are clear about your reasons for wanting to make a
change, it's time to
set your goals:
- Long-term goals: These are large goals that you want to reach in 6 to 12 months. Your
doctor can help you figure out what your long-term goals should be for your
- Short-term goals: What are the
short-term goals that will help you reach your long-term goals? Short-term
goals are the small steps you take, week by week, to improve your
- Updated goals: To help you stay
motivated, track your progress and update your goals as you move forward.
Tips for setting goals
- Focus on small goals. This will help you reach larger goals over time. With smaller goals,
you'll have success more often, which will help you stay with it.
- Write down your goals. This will help you
remember, and you'll have a clearer idea of what you want to achieve. Use a
personal action plan(What is a PDF document?) to record your goals. Hang up your plan where you will see it
often. It will be a reminder of what you're trying to do.
- Make your goals specific. Specific goals help you measure your
progress. For example, setting a goal to eat one additional fruit and one additional vegetable each day for a week is better than a general goal to "eat more vegetables."
- Focus on one goal at a time. By doing this,
you're less likely to feel overwhelmed and then give up.
- As soon as you reach a goal, set a new one.