Three Ways to Keep on Track Through Life Changes

All of us have gone through major changes in our lives. Maybe it was getting married, buying a new house, having a new baby, sending your child off to college, or taking over the care of a loved one who has recently become ill. Likely with some increased energy and focus you were able to get through the change relatively unscathed.

But now I have a question for you. How did your health do during that time? Did you keep going to the gym as often? Did you keep eating healthy? Or did your health take the back seat…?

Interestingly enough, at the very time that we would benefit from exercise in our lives to help manage the increased stress of a major life change, many of us de-emphasize exercise. Why do we do it? I must admit that I am just as prone to falling into this trap.

Major Change

I recently underwent a major life change. Three months ago I started a new job in a completely new industry. In an effort to impress my new work colleagues, I stopped going to the gym as often. I didn’t prioritize doing cardio sessions mid-week and even let myself “off the hook” for going to my favorite Saturday exercise class with Catherine. I started to notice two months into my new job I was feeling tired and depressed. It was then that I started to re-evaluate why I hadn’t gone back to the gym even though I had enjoyed it in the past. When push came to shove, it was because I was holding myself to goals that didn’t make sense any more. It wasn’t until I did the three following things that I was able to get out of my funk and back into my exercise habit:

  • Look at your previous health goals – With a major life change, your health goals will likely change. Look back at your health goals of the past to see what had been important to you.
  • Set new goals relative to your new situations – Things you had done previously may not fit into your life moving forward. Set goals that make sense for your new routines that will make you happy.
  • Be realistic – Just because you always did it before doesn’t mean that it makes sense now! Make sure that you have targeted realistic goals for your new life so that you can feel happy when you accomplish them.

I am happy to report that I have “gotten back on the horse”! You will see me back at the gym, however my goals have shifted a little. I have created a new set of priorities which make sense for me now given my new job. And I have to say, I feel great about it!

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Diana grew up in a small suburb north of Boston. She received her clinical doctorate degree in Physical Therapy at Boston University in 2006. Diana started practicing as a physical therapist at Massachusetts General Hospital. While at MGH, she developed a specialty in the evaluation and treatment of complex lumbopelvic dysfunction. Diana is currently practicing at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston where she is the Orthopedic Clinical Supervisor of the Spine program. She is presently a Boston resident and her interests outside physical therapy include cooking, walking on the Esplanade, and international travel.

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