What I love about the New Year is it represents a blank page in your healthy habits book. Actually, every Monday is a blank page for the latest chapter to be written in your book. What freedom you have to be able to write your own destiny!
Make a Commitment to You
This New Year, make a commitment to your health. Remember you are writing your course of action. Make realistic goals. Go into the New Year knowing it will be difficult to break deeply ingrained habits. You might have to do some rewriting along the way, but this is your pen and paper!
8 Tips for Creating Healthy Habits
Use these tips to make realistic resolutions that you can achieve.
1. Change one habit.
Start each day with a positive affirmation, such as, “Today I will add a walk after dinner, and it will feel glorious.” Changing too many habits at once can weaken your willpower. In fact, cultivating keystone habits can have a ripple effect that will improve other areas of your life.
2. Keep it simple.
Find ways to add fitness into your busy day. If you go to the gym at the busiest time of day just to be frustrated, you might as well be in your garage with a simple workout so you will be more apt to continue.
Drastic resolutions like “I will never eat” are unrealistic and irrational. Better to say, ‘Today I will eat one more serving of vegetables.’ Or, ‘Today, I will take the stairs instead of the elevator.’
3. Write it down.
Self-monitoring strengthens self-control. Journaling, food and exercise logs boost willpower and encourage habit change. Studies have shown that logging your food and your workouts will increase the odds of successful weight loss and maintenance of your fitness goals. What will you be logging? I just bought a calendar for the year, and I will put a big ‘X’ on all the days I accomplish my goals.
4. Get social.
Social support improves adherence. Making your resolutions known to friends and family helps garner support when temptation strikes. Find a local running group, cycling or triathlon group, or hiking club and join in the fun of working out together. Challenge friends on your activity tracker. My sister’s love to kick my butt in FitBit challenges. They even push me to move more. Check out a variety of exercise classes and fitness activities to see what appeals to you.
5. Give it time.
Positive habits require development of new neural pathways, a process that scientists say takes at least three weeks. Most resolution-makers give up too early. Persistence is critical. Start slow. If you’re not used to working out, gradually ease into a program. As time goes by, add more time to each workout and more workout days to each week.
6. Create positive rewards.
Successful resolution makers visualize new routine and allow rewards. When I was training for Ironman, I visualized how good I would feel crossing the finish line. Every run, I had a good feeling and I remembered my goal.
Even when I was 16 on the farm I wanted to ride horses like they did in the movies. Every night I would lie in bed and visualize me riding Smoky through the woods. Finally after several times getting thrown off, my visualization became a reality.
7. Be ready for a relapse.
Just like writers block, New Year’s resolutions often meet their demise with the first relapse. Drastic changes and stressful life events decrease willpower. To stay on course, you will need a prepared plan for dealing with stress.
Find your muse, your source of inspiration and motivation. Mine are my running group or a race coming up that get’s me right back on track.
8. Hire a personal trainer or coach.
A personal trainer or coach will not only help keep you motivated, but they also will help you achieve results safely and more quickly through their expertise.
The title of your book is Opportunity. As rapper Eminem says, “Look, if you had one shot or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment would you capture it or just let it slip?”
Remember, you can do anything you set your mind to.