‘Tis the season to be jolly, to have family around, go to holiday parties, and of course to make resolutions. In the world of nutrition and fitness training, it seems like a broken record of advice and talking people off the cliff. After one month only 64% of people have kept a resolution. So, what can you do to fulfill your self-promises?
Start small and lay out a plan. Small steps and more importantly actionable steps are the only way to make your resolution stick. Below I will lay out five tactics to help you have a fighting chance at reaching your goals. Now I will warn you these tactics are not sexy, and they are certainly not what your television or social media will be selling you. However, after a decade of working with clients, I promise you these tactics work.
1. Make your goal particular and attainable: Most people have a very vague goal in mind when they set resolutions. “I want to drop 50 pounds,” sounds great but that is too vague. Why do want those 50 pounds off? Why choose 50 and not 40 or 60? There is usually an emotion attached to a number when dealing with weight loss. This emotion usually exists because the goal weight was somewhere the client has been before and was happy. The client is overweight and thus, not happy any longer. Give your goal micro-steps. Instead of saying I want to lose 50 pounds, say I want to lose 20 pounds by March and lose an additional 10 pounds every 90 days till my goal is met. This gives the goal multiple attainable steps and includes a timeline to get there.
2. Start slow with your workout routine: If you do not currently work out then jumping into a five-day schedule is a recipe for disaster. If you currently do not workout start with one to two days a week for three to four weeks. After your body has adapted to this you can add another day. Keep in mind to incorporate rest days into your schedule. If you do not know how to exercise properly, you need a coach. Don’t risk injury just because you are afraid to ask for help.
3. Switch your nutritional habits slowly: A sure way to cause failure and frustration is to try to burn the pantry and replace it with all new foods. My suggestion is to switch out one single meal with healthy options. If you think having healthier choices for dinner is an easy switch, then start there. DO NOT pick the hardest meal to change. It is already hard for you so let’s not make it worse. After you change out one meal you can choose a second to swap out. The reality is just changing foods will decrease your caloric intake and make a big difference. Choose foods you enjoy to make this easy.
4. Change your environment and include family: This simply means if you can set up your home or work environment to have a healthier daily impact, you will set yourself up for success. Getting rid of junk food will make it easier to stay focused. Get your family involved. Explain to your family the journey you are on and ask for help. Include kids in the shopping and cooking process. It is a lot harder to binge on sugar and foods when they aren’t in your face.
5. Up your daily activity. Go for a walk once a day is something I preach to all my clients. If you sit all day, try a standing workstation or stand for part of the day and work. Take stairs versus riding an elevator. Park further in the parking lot at stores and generally make yourself be a little more active than usual. Again, including the family will make it into a bonding experience. Hiking and bike rides are great ways to incorporate the family unit.
The ideas here are simple to grasp but harder to put into practice. No number of quick-fix drinks, fad diets, or at-home exercise equipment have ever made someone healthy. Most have plenty of items stashed in the closet to prove this. Habit change and small lifestyle changes are the only true way to become healthy for a sustained period of time.
William Davis has been in the fitness industry for 11 years and he’s run Steel Mill Fleming Island for eight years. He’s also a USA weightlifting sports performance and USA powerlifting club coach, a CrossFit Level 2 trainer, PN nutrition coach, CrossFit powerlifting trainer, aerobic capacity trainer, movement and mobility trainer and rowing trainer.
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