How many of you are banking on big change for the New Year?
While the emphasis might be on "resolve" right now, real change happens through the daily details. What shake-ups are you ready to welcome into your routine?
Newsflash—you will not see the results you want to see by being willy-nilly in your actions! Step one: COMMIT with a can-do attitude. Then start seeing how you can start living that change today—and each day.
Check out these 5 must-have strategies for getting real with your resolutions!
Get in the zone.
Effective habit change comes from a few key things—one of which is a positive and open mindset.
If you want to see change physically, you have to be open to changing your daily actions and routine. It doesn’t have to be an overhaul. In fact, it shouldn’t be! That said, choose 1-3 small priorities to focus on each day that will progress into solid habits. Make the changes you're truly ready to make.
Think of the times in the past when you attempted to change things up and work towards a goal to get healthy. When you were successful, what did that look like? What did your day look like? What actions did you take daily in order to attain your long-term goal?
Now think of the times when you had the same intention but fell short of your goal. What challenges did you face that interfered with your success? Learn from the past, and apply those personal "best practices" going forward.
Be sure to also feed your initial motivation by finding inspirational quotes and pictures to keep at your desk, on your mirror, and on your fridge as reminders of your intention and the payoffs it will bring!
Map it out.
I personally know that I’m able to consistently shift my routine when I’m mentally prepared and motivated—and when I have a legit plan to follow.
Picture what you and your life look like in your ideal state. What about that goal is appealing? Take that vision and apply a realistic time frame for achieving that.
Not entirely sure how to go about this process? Consult with a fitness professional and/or weight loss coach at your club. Trust me—this is what they do for a living, and they’re darn good at it!
Where many of my clients have gone astray in the past is setting a goal without breaking it down into weekly and then daily objectives. This is how you start to see big changes!
Those 6-pack abs you want—what you eat today affects that outcome. Those pants you purchased as a goal to work toward? The workout you do or don’t do impacts when you’ll get to put those on. What you do on a daily basis matters.
This isn’t saying you have to be perfect 100% of the time. In fact, I’d actually suggest about 80% of the time. But don’t kid yourself: putting off for tomorrow what you can do today will catch up with you!
Don’t leave your good intentions to the whim of daily moods. At the beginning of each week map out what each day looks like. Consider what meals you’ll have (and then create a grocery and prep list from that), what days you’ll work out and when, when you'll go to bed and maybe even what you'll do for relaxation and recovery.
Once you have a plan in place, actually schedule those things in your day—as in, put them in your calendar! It is much more difficult to skip a workout if it was planned ahead of time—plus there will be a much bigger guilt factor if you do.
Mix it up.
If you’re naturally a planner and have worked off a strict schedule and program for a while now, try shaking things up a bit to step outside of your norm. That routine might not be working so well for you!
For example, many people have a preferred time of day for working out…or so they think. When was the last time you tried the opposite time of day from what you typically do? For you early morning exercisers, make a point of trying an evening workout one day this week. For you late gym-goers, set your alarm one morning and get cracking bright and early on a run or yoga class. You never know—you just might find this new time of day is just what you need!
How about some additional insight for the best workout time for your personal functioning? Consider doing a Stress & Resilience test at your local Life Time.
This easy take-home test kit measures your cortisol levels (stress!) over the course of the day via saliva samples. The results from it may be a major wake-up call!
My clients sometimes find their current routines are actually hampering their success by working against their bodies’ hormonal output and other physiological factors. Your morning cardio might be better exchanged with an evening resistance training session, or vice versa. Who knew spit could be so enlightening?
The potential schedule shift could also be a great opportunity to visit a new class you’ve been wanting to try that maybe isn’t offered during your “typical” workout time.
You read and hear about the benefits of daily movement constantly, but how often do you walk the walk?
Don’t second guess. Just do it! Park a little farther away from your work place and shopping destinations, take the stairs rather than waiting for the elevator, or set an hourly reminder alarm to get up from your desk to take a stroll.
Again, easy habits like these are actually responsible for some of the biggest health and fitness results. If you can over time regularly incorporate 10,000 or more steps a day into your daily lifestyle, you’ll be much closer to that goal vision.
I’ve made it a habit to wear an activity tracker every day now, and it’s alarming how far from my goal I can be—even on days when I think I’m doing well. Other days, I reach my goal by mid-day. Having that number on my wrist gives me motivation and holds me accountable to my plan every day.
Spread the word.
Speaking of accountability…
How likely are you to skip a workout, buy an unhealthy lunch, or blow off your set routine if you know you have to check in with someone? People who enlist support with a personal trainer and/or nutrition coach don’t necessarily see results because they’re told exactly what to do (in fact that may be far from the truth).
Rather, oftentimes their success is largely a matter of simply being accountable to someone else.
Whether you hire a trainer or call on a friend as an accountability partner, you’ll be challenged to verbalize your goal and your weekly plan. When I enlisted a good friend, I asked her to check in with me a few times throughout the week. Having her (and others) know about my goal added a layer of support I never really knew I needed.
And many times this small step of reaching out can actually be just the thing the other person needs to jump-start his/her own health routine!
Thanks for reading. Would more support or strategies help you kickstart your New Year’s goal? Talk with a professional trainer or dietitian today.
In health Becca Hurt, MS, RD, Assistant Program Manager of Life Time Weight Loss
This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.