It’s the New Year, and with that comes resolutions, a clean slate, a do-over from the miserable failure that was last years resolution. It is no surprise that the top of the resolution list is exercise more (59%) and eating healthier (54%) and even less of a surprise that 80% of resolutioners won’t keep up with their goal. I want to talk about why this happens and what we can do to actually reach and maintain a new, healthier lifestyle.
Why we fail.
It’s about to be 2020, where all information ever made in the history of the world is accessible within seconds. A date is just a screen swipe away and going to a movie rental store is ancient. Basically, we like things quick, fast, and in a hurry. While technology has found ways to make this possible, our bodies are old school. Changes in our health and lifestyle cannot change overnight no matter how badly we want it to. You see, most people think that they will be able to make the change in a flash, from couch potato to 5 times a week in the gym. Some will decide to wake up early, others will opt to go after work. People will try keto, low-carb, low fat, intermittent fasting, and anything else being sold to them by a celebrity with plastic surgery. This zero to hero method rarely works and understanding that is your first step to making a lasting change on your health.
Tiny changes add up.
Here’s the deal, it’s a lifestyle change! I cringed writing that because I hate clichés, but there is no better way to put it. The changes need to be incremental and fairly small in order for them to last. With the average American living to be 79 years old, you most likely have a lot of to implement these changes. So instead of trying to go from little activity to a dedicated gym rat, pick something more manageable. Plan out 2 days a week to go to the gym for starters. Two is not a daunting number and can be arranged to not derail commitments you already have. From there you can decide when it is necessary to move to 3 days a week and beyond.
Same goes for your diet. If you eat out 5+ times a week, it is unrealistic that you will all of the sudden be committed to paleo, whole 30, keto, or any other diet out there. Instead, you can make a conscious effort to cook more for yourself. And before you restrict yourself from eating anything, find things you can add to your diet. Never eat vegetables? Make a goal to have one serving of vegetables once a day. That’s doable, right? Less soda, less candy, less processed food. The life hack is to limit and not eliminate. If we tell ourselves we want to take a break from something, that’s easy. But the second you tell yourself never again, you begin to panic, think it can’t be done, and then over indulge.
Stick to small changes that can be maintained over time. Eventually, you will eat something you haven’t had in a while and it will make you feel terrible and remind you that that substance no longer serves you and it actually hinders your well-being.
Now, I would be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t offer our help, this is what we have dedicated our lives to. But at the very least you need to find people who will go through this with you, who will hold you accountable, and push you to be better every day. A trainer can do that. So can a friend, sibling, spouse etc… Find someone and lean on them. If you need a professional’s help, then look no further than the website you are already on.
Accountability is a crucial step in life long changes, and even more important if you have tried and failed before. If that sounds like you, please do not just try to do what you have always done. It might be time to switch up the process. It is a marathon, it always has been so don’t let anyone tell you it needs to be done in 30 days or 6 weeks. Take your time, make the lasting changes, and not only achieve your goals, but maintain them as well!
Now go do it.
None if this matters if you do not take action. It’s great to think about, but utterly useless until you lace up the sneakers and move. The good news is you already know most of the answers. Homemade is better than fast food. More movement is better than less movement. Sleep more. What is the best type of workout? The one you will do, so find something you enjoy. What is the best diet for you? The one you will stick to that supports health and your goals. Being a healthier version of you is simple. It is simple in the fact that you know what will make you better. But do not confuse simple for easy. There are many roadblocks that will pop up along the way and it will be up to you as the individual if you will overcome it.