Science is shedding new light on how to turn a goal into action - and then lasting success
Eat Healthier. Workout More. Cut Stress.
If you're like almost half of all adults, you begin a health and fitness regimen with good intentions. But a few weeks or months in, it can be challenging to make that commitment to stick with it. Let's use New Year's resolutions for an example. A week into the new year, just 77% of resolution makers are still on track, per research from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. After six months, only 40% will have stayed on course.
Why is it so tough to keep a commitment to better health? Researchers have identified several culprits, like setting a goal that is too vague - "I'm going to get in shape." Or having unrealistic expectations - I'm going to lose 30 pounds in 2 months.
Perhaps, the biggest challenge is turning your wish into immediate action and then staying with it for the long haul." It's easy to change your attitude but a bit more difficult to change your behavior," explains Christine Whelan, a clinical professor in the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin.
If you're committed to it, you can make a new habit or behavior permanent.
Outsmarting the odds means setting doable goals and then breaking them down into reasonable, doable steps. The best possible YOU starts right here.
Reboot your diet
To clean up your eating means being prepared. If you want to rise above temptation, such as a tasty dessert or yummy appetizer, you have to think a step ahead. And it also helps to have a no deprivation strategies. Eating better is associated with misery instead of long-term health.
Here are a few strategies to reboot your diet:
Figure Out Your "Why". May be you want to fit into those sexy jeans you love. Or you want to set a better example for your kids. If you know the reason that's fueling your desire to eat better, you can motivate yourself when you're eyeing the dessert menu.
Do A Kitchen Cleanse. Toss unhealthy products (chips, sugary granolas, sodas) from your pantry, fridge, car and office. Then restock with options like carrots, air popped popcorn, or a refreshing strawberry, blueberry fruit cup. Cornell University researchers found that women who kept healthy food visible in the kitchen had lower BMI's than those who left junky products out on their countertops.
Plan For Snack Attacks. The hours between midafternoon and dinnertime are when cravings kick in hard. Before leaving work pack a 200 calorie, protein-complex carb snack in your purse. Think hummus and pita chips, or pistachios and a pear. When your snack attack strikes you'll have a go to treat and avoid empty calories.
Reboot your workout
People who are able to keep their workout regimen going have one thing in common, they view fitness as a permanent lifestyle change, not an activity they can give up once they reach a number on the scale.
Here are a few strategies to reboot your workout:
Take It A Week At A Time. It is easier to make a plan to workout (run, weights or aerobics) twice a week for two weeks rather than vow to workout 5 days a week indefinitely. When I start with a client, I have them commit two days per week for one month and then we re-evaluate what works and what doesn't. This allows you to create a fitness lifestyle that you can continue for a lifetime.
Raise The Stakes. Research shows that anticipating rewards may help you to become more devoted to your body and health goals. Experiment with promising yourself a treat after completing a week of working out. A financial pledge is a very effective incentive.
Bundle Your Workout. You may be more likely to participate in a behavior you're not so into like exercising if you combine it with catching up on your favorite show or movie while on the treadmill. Or in Covid-19 days, Zoom your bestie to do a mat workout together.
Reboot your stressful days
One big problem with making "stress reduction" a wellness goal is that it's so abstract. You can't just vow to relax without being specific. Therefore, it's crucial to implement tools that will make your everyday tension less toxic.
Here are a few strategies to reboot your stressful days
Say No To Something Every Week. A simple "I Can't, sorry" is a helpful immediate fix. Regularly overextending yourself forces you to put your own needs behind others' requests. I have had clients who felt guilty taking care of their own needs before others. This type of thinking can adversely effect your health.
Take A Time-Out Daily. Vow to disconnect at least once a day. Close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths in your office, or play soothing music on your commute. A daily break dedicated to relaxing and letting go is healthy for your mind, body and soul.
Give Meditation A Try. Meditating is like your brain's virus checker, detecting toxic stress and blocking its effects on your physical and emotional health. A study found that adults who were taught the basics of mindful meditation had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone can prevent you from loosing weight and being your best self.
"Being fit isn't an option, it's a lifestyle."
For more information on my N.E.W. (Nutrition, Exercise & Well-Being) Body Lifestyle Coaching - or to schedule a complimentary consultation visit www.bodybyouida.com