We just made it through the Holiday season and kicked off a New Year! Of course with the new year comes new goals and renewed desire to accomplish them. But how do we avoid the trap of getting overwhelmed with all the resolutions and sadly sometimes falling off the bandwagon? Well I thought for today’s blog post I’d let you in on some simple steps that I use to help create healthy habits. Follow along and you’ll be on the path towards a healthier, happier you.
Step 1: SIMPLIFY and Prioritize
One of the biggest issues with New Years Resolutions is we try to take on too many new goals at once! We decide to workout every day, stop eating sugar, be on time to everything, clean more, cook every meal, etc… and we might be able to keep this up for a couple of weeks. But big changes made quickly can be overwhelming and hard to manage in the long term. I can’t emphasize enough the power of writing down a list on a piece of paper and posting it somewhere you can see it everyday. Start at the top of your list, take on one goal at a time. Each week check in to hold yourself accountable. If you feel you could take on a second healthy habit then go for it! If you feel you need another week to master the first, then stick with it for another week before you overload your plate.
Step 2: Find YOUR starting point
Be honest with yourself and start with goals that are right for you. If you’ve never ran a day in your life, you probably shouldn’t set a goal to qualify for the Boston marathon next month because your friends are doing it. Rather, work from where you are. That may look more like a mile run three times a week to start, or training for a 5k race at the end of the month. Your goals should challenge you, but be realistic enough that they won’t leave you discouraged and overwhelmed. Do not compare your first week to someone else’s 2nd year!
Step 3: Recognize your excuses & get rid of what’s holding you back
We all need to identify the negative influences in our lives and throw them out. Think of what in your life has kept you from reaching your goals up until now. If going to the gym everyday is your goal, what has kept you from going in years past? Is your schedule too busy to fit it in? Try taking out something in your schedule that doesn’t need to be there. Have your kids become the excuse? Try waking up a 1/2 hour earlier, find a gym that provides daycare, or invest in simple equipment at home you can use while the kids are napping (try one of my in home training guides). Do you hate running on the treadmill? Invest in some cold weather gear, find a fun route outside instead and try something new. Recognizing your excuses and removing them increases that window of opportunity for us to implement new healthy habits into our lives.
Step 4: Positive Reinforcements. This is where we set ourselves up for success
As you get rid of what’s holding you back from your goal, you’ll need to fill that void with something that invites the healthy habit into your life. This may include filling your treat bowl with healthier snacks instead, or laying your running clothes out the night before to prep for your run. Maybe it takes holding yourself accountable by hiring a trainer (options to consider here).This step is all about putting in place a strategy that makes reaching your new goals as easy as possible.
Step 5: Get rid of the ALL OR NOTHING mindset
All too often we feel that we have to be perfect with our diet and exercise – living at the gym, drinking kale smoothies or…… we’re sleeping in and fine with sitting on the couch eating donuts for breakfast. Its harmful to think if we have a slip up on Wednesday that the rest of the week is shot and we have to wait until Monday to start trying to be healthy again. Well I’m here to tell you get back up on the horse! The key is to not beat yourself up over one little cookie, or a missed day at the gym. You just bounce right back and do better the next day, or the next meal. The quicker we bounce back, the better off we’ll be. Start where you’re at and commit to be more active in the next week than you were in the last. No need to wait for a Monday or a New Month, or New Year. Start with one small step today and enjoy the journey!
Whatever your goals are for this year, remember to prioritize, start where you’re at, recognize your excuses, bring in positive reinforcements, and avoid the all or nothing mindset. If we want to create a healthy lifestyle, the best way is by making small changes over time, rather than trying to change everything at once. Cheers to a healthier 2017!