Are you making changes for yourself in the year ahead? Health-related New Year’s resolutions are hugely popular. Many of us have thought about embarking on a new workout routine, either starting from scratch or changing up what we’re currently doing. Or maybe cleaning up our diet. Or just being more active in general. We do our best to stick to our new resolution with goals that seem just barely out of reach. It’s going well at first and we’re working hard and staying focused. But will it last?
Here’s the one thing that will sabotage your fitness goals every single time. You don’t have to let it!
What am I talking about here?
Trying to do everything at the same time.
By taking on too much all at once, we’re setting ourselves up for failure.
We’ll become overwhelmed and quit before the healthy changes even have a fighting chance.
Tell me if this sounds like you.
You want to lose a few pounds/burn fat/build muscle/get healthy so you commit to hitting the gym every day before work. You vow to cut out all refined sugar. You’re backing off carbs and you have banned dessert except for one day a week. You also want to eat clean. And jog on the weekends. You want to walk 10,000 steps every day and show your new fitness tracker who’s boss.
So you go for it all.
You set your mind to it and your willpower has never been so strong.
You’re a couple of days into your new routine. Everything starts out fine. You feel energized and excited about your new routine and are so proud of yourself.
More time goes by and you’re feeling even better. You’re eating right and working out like a fiend.
But then you start craving foods that you’ve banned. You start hitting snooze on your alarm and skipping those early morning spin classes just once in a while. Then more often.
You feel like you’re going to burn out. You think working out and healthy living isn’t for you.
So you cut your morning workouts back to three times a week and start eating dessert again regularly. You’re too tired to prep your meals ahead of time, so you find yourself eating easy foods that are far from clean.
You’re right back to where you started except now you’re discouraged, burnt out and hopeless.
But listen up! It doesn’t have to be that way. You can change your life and get back on the horse, so to speak.
My advice to you is to make one healthy change in your life that is doable 80% of the time.
JUST ONE CHANGE.
Start slow. You won’t notice any monumental changes overnight. The key here is to pick something that you can comfortably stick with. It can be a change to your diet or to your fitness routine. Just pick something that’s manageable for you and your lifestyle.
Things like eating a wholesome breakfast each morning instead of a bunch of empty calories. Maybe switching out your afternoon vending machine run with a healthier snack you pack at home. Maybe it’s making your morning latte with skim milk instead of whole. Maybe it’s drinking water with meals instead of soda.
Or make a change to your exercise routine like adding a new workout class once a week, committing to a weekend jog, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or adding an interval workout. But not ALL of those things.
Pick just one thing. Two if you feel you can honestly handle it. But that’s it. Then live your life for a few months. See how it goes.
Why do I recommend just one change 80% of the time?
Because it’s something you can consistently shoot for and actually achieve. You’ve then made this healthy change a positive change in your mind because you’re able to stick to it. It’s something you’re winning at, not failing.
Making one healthy change is both mentally and physically possible for most people. If the change you’re after is diet, again aim for sticking to the change 80% of the time and NOT all the time. Give yourself some wiggle room.
For me personally, the first change I made when getting serious about my fitness was to eat oatmeal with skim milk, banana, chia seeds, cinnamon and a little honey every morning. No sugary garbage or empty calories. I like oatmeal enough to eat it 80% of the time. And if one morning I want pancakes, it’s totally fine because I know the next day I’ll be eating oatmeal again. It’s also easy to customize with fruit and nuts so it’s not the same exact thing every day.
In time, you can slowly add in other healthy changes depending on what your goals are and how committed you are. Make sure they’re doable shoot for sticking with it 80% of the time.
And if you mess up, it’s OK. You’re human. Forgive yourself and move on. Get back on track the next day. Healthy choices are not all or nothing.
Suddenly those goals you have for the year ahead are within reach and you’ve never felt better and more confident about what the future holds. You’ve got this!
What helps you stay on track when it comes to fitness and health?