Make Healthy Habits Last a Lifetime
Summer is a upon us and many people come to me wanting to know how to get into the best shape of their life. They ask this for lots of reasons, and one of those reasons is because it's swimsuit season. Plus, lots of people fell off their New Year's Resolution Wagon way back in March and are desperately trying to figure out how to get in shape and develop better habits for healthy living.
If you're wondering if getting lean is possible, competing in a race is possible, becoming more flexible is possible, or doing a bodybuilding show is possible then the answer is: "Yes!" Without a doubt, I believe that anything is possible. The only catch is YOU. To make the impossible turn possible YOU have to be consistent and patient. It takes a solid 28 days of consistency to make a habit stick. According to researchers at Duke University, habits account for about 40 percent of our behaviors on any given day. If you want to behave like a fitness guru then you have to give yourself strategies to make that a reality. Also, click this link if you want to read more about behavioral change.
Check out these five ways to make healthy habits last a lifetime.
1. Start With A Small Habit and Make It Life Sized. For example, let go of adding high fructose corn syrup coffee creamers to your coffee and learn to drink it black. By learning to drink coffee black will also help you to appreciate the earthly qualities of the coffee you bought. Plus, you could drop up to 5-8 lbs just by doing that. I can attest to that statement because it happened to me over 6 years ago. That one little change made a huge difference in my life. Keep in mind you can add things like cinnamon or cocoa powder for sweetness, too.
2. Increase Your Habits in Very Small Ways. For example, if exercise is new to you, start with twice week for 30 minutes. Then, after two weeks add three days a week for thirty minutes. You will see that within a matter of a month you will be working out 4 to 5 times a week for a solid 30 minutes (if not more).
3. As You Build Upon Your Habit, Break It Up Into Manageable Parts. For example, you want to do cardio for 30 minutes a day, but making it through a full thirty minutes is near impossible. I recommend doing 15 minutes twice a day. If you want to get better at food prepping, I recommend doing it twice a week. Prep enough for three days and then prep again for 3 days. By breaking your new habit into chunks helps to reduce stress and anxiety over whether or not you will be successful.
4. Get Right Back On Track! Even if you have a bad day is no reason to simply throw in the towel. Research has shown no measurable side effect for skipping out on a goal or habit for just one day. However, don't make that one day into two or three days. It's when you mindfully decide to quit that creating that good habit diminishes. Just stick with it even if it's hard. Be comfortable with the uncomfortable.
5. Be Patient! This is the hardest for everyone. To reach our goals really takes time. Depending on the goal it can take months to even a year or more. My suggestion is to find multiple ways to track your progress. For instance, keep a weightlifting log to see how you are improving on your strength by logging how much you lift and the amount of reps you can complete each workout session. Track your mile times. Take pictures for your weight loss program, or measure your body parts with a tape measure to see if you are leaning out or gaining mass. Log your food to see which foods provide you with the best energy, and try to figure out why.
Give these methods a try and see what happens.
As always, contact me if you would like coaching for fitness and/or nutrition.
I am a new mother who has her hands full! I juggle not just my coaching business, but I am also a full time educator. I also teach yoga in the Bay Area, and I mentor first generation college students.