We have now finished our Christmas indulgence and New Years is right around the corner. The inevitable ‘New Year and New You’ is about to begin with resolutions prepped and ready to be executed. But how can we improve them in terms of making a lifestyle change?
It’s been shown that 68% of the UK populace aim to get fit each year and maybe you make up a portion of this and perhaps you are wanting to get yourself in the best shape of your life or it is possible that you just want to look good on the beach for when summer rolls around (yes, it may be a good idea to start now if you want to look better for the summer).
So how can we dominate this task of improving ourselves physically and hopefully mentally and make 2015 our year to make a big change? It all begins with making it a lifestyle. This needs to be like clockwork, a habit; an effortless task needs to happen like brushing your teeth. If you don’t brush your teeth, maybe start there.
Now, how do we make this happen? Well let me take you back a few years or even many years to your old math classroom and let me ask you this; what is more difficult subtraction or addition? Subtraction right?! Let me prove this to you, what is 73463462 – 287= ? and what is 18 + 2 + ? I bet the subtraction was a chore and the addition was a breeze (yeah okay, maybe I tried to extensively prove my point).
What do we commonly do when we try to make a positive change in terms of our health, fitness and appearance? We subtract things from our life and diet rather than add things in, this is more restrictive, daunting and unpleasant than just adding things in to improve it. As an example, January is supposed to be ‘dryathalon’ where we don’t drink, is 1/12th of the year really going to make a strong ever lasting change especially when the 1st weekend of February will no doubt lead to an all out binge drinking fest? It isn’t and I’m not suggesting to completely abstain from alcohol either.
Rather than waste our energy of battling to cut out drinking alcohol, eating chocolate, eating carbohydrates (by the way, soup has many carbohydrates) we should rather be focused on what we should be doing to make an impact on our lives and making habitual changes so it does become like clockwork. Restriction rarely becomes clockwork and always remember that ‘willlpower is a finite resource and that’s all it ever is and eventually it runs out, it never results in a meaningful long lasting change, we don’t want to lose gains do we?!
Rather than that, we should spend our energy by giving ourselves one bi-weekly task of adding something into our routine and/or diet and doing it each and every day for 14-28 days and then adding in another habit. We should always aim to start small that can provide a great long-term result. Don’t drink enough water? Why not aim to drink 2L of water a day and draw a cross for each day that you complete? Don’t eat enough vegetables? Why not try to get in at least 1 portion a day into your diet and then go from there, add in another daily serving and so forth. Or you could even begin taking a multivitamin to cover your nutritional bases. Don’t eat enough oily fish? Start by either aiming to have 1 portion a week or even think about using a good omega 3 supplement daily.
Author Leo Babauta of ‘The Power of Less’ states that picking one habit at a time is essential and provides a 50-80% success rate of making something a legitimate lifestyle change whereas trying to perform multiple habits at once is nigh on impossible for them to stick to long-term. We don’t want to spread ourselves too thin, we want success. The goal and the habit in itself should be easy, effortless as we don’t want unrealistic expectations of ourselves, aiming to go to the gym daily is unrealistic if you never go and instead goals like exercising 10minutes a day is more realistic as it is short and can be done anywhere! This is even truer when you consider that after 20 minutes of exercise, four in five want to give up and that 37 million is wasted on gym memberships. You don’t even need the gym; bodyweight exercises and jogging outdoors may be all you need for your goals.
Depending on how successful you are with each habit (I’d personally recommend at least a 90% success rate before adding in something new) and how long you decide to introduce another habit, by the end of the year you could have added 12-25 new positive lifestyle habits that can benefit your health, fitness, happiness and appearance. When you add that up over time you can bet your bottom dollar that 2015’s fitness goals will have been dominated. As a by product of this, hopefully this article will help reduce the 37% drop out rate that is usually seen by the end of January and instead more people will be walking around healthier and effortlessly. And remember that ‘habits are hard to break’, so let’s become a walking resolute fortress with this lifestyle. And I bet that if you pick one habit and smash it, it will translate to other things sub-consciously changing. Drinking more water may lead to eating less food, may make you feel more energetic to move around more and so on so forth. This all add ups and it will put you onto the right path to fitness success in 2015.
13 Habits for Fitness Success
- 1. Drink 2L of water a day
- 2. Multivitamin a day
- Omega 3 Fish Oil a day (can increase dose up to 3-6g a day)
- 1 servings of vegetables a day (can increase servings all the way up to several)
- 1 serving of fruit a day (can servings all the way up to a few)
- Eat a fistful of protein at breakfast (can increase to two fistfuls)
- Exercise an hour a week (can increase all the way up to several hours over time, small increments)
- Eat oily fish once a week
- Eat a fistful of protein with each meal
- a serving of vegetables with breakfast
- some fruit with breakfast
- Stretch daily for 10 minutes
- Foam roll for 10 minutes
- Have FUN!