Crash diets won’t last and transformations won’t stick unless you accept and embrace health and fitness as a part of your life. Eat well, train consistently, manage your stress and emotions, improve your attitude, get support from friends and family, create a positive healthy environment and you have a healthy lifestyle and a very happy and very high quality of life.
The first step however is to prioritise and focus on the most important tasks at any given time. Many people do too much too soon. Sweeping changes all at once will scatter your focus, diffuse your efforts and cause stress and rebounds.
Select something to focus on and make a new habit. It usually takes 21 days to form a habit in your life, then it takes around 6 months to be deeply ingrained. Change one thing at a time while keeping everything else in a holding pattern. Every month, introduce a new habit and in just one year you’ve set up 12 stable healthy lifestyle habits without too much effort. By that point you’ll be such a changed and enhanced person you won’t even remember the old you that you left behind.
Example habits to try include:
- Go to bed at 10 pm sharp to get a good quality sleep.
- Wake up half an hour earlier for a morning jog with a friend.
- Join a yoga or fitness class.
- Reduce coffee from 5 a day to 2 a day.
- Reduce alcohol from all week to just 2 drinks on the weekend.
- Drink more water.
- Do 20 push ups before your morning shower.
- Join your healthy friend in their gym workouts.
- Track your calories for a month.
- Reduce evening chocolate to only special occasions.
- Prepare lunches for the whole week during the previous weekend.
Starting a habit usually involves willpower, keeping a habit involves belief and faith.
- Make yourself a goal for each habit.
- Make your goal specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and achievable in a sensible time frame constraint. (S.M.A.R.T goals)
- Set yourself weekly and daily mini goals within your main goal.
- Brainstorm ideas for little rewards and ways to treat yourself when you achieve each mini goal (preferably a non food reward)
- Consider brainstorming little consequences or punishments if you want to negatively motivate yourself to achieve each mini goal.
- Involve as many friends and family in your efforts. Get your partner to join you on a run or walk or your kids involved with the cooking.
- Be part of a community atmosphere around your new habits and make it fun and a little competitive if you like.