A Change Of Habit

A Change Of Habit

We’re now well into January and it’s time to take stock on your efforts to become leaner, fitter and healthier this year. At this point, you should be asking yourself:

  1. Am I progressing and reaching my weekly goals?
  2. Is my approach sustainable for the rest of the year?
  3. Does my approach make me feel healthier or do I feel run down?

As I mentioned in a previous article, most health resolutions WILL fail by this date, and be all but forgotten by next month. This isn’t because people are weak willed, rather their approach is way off the mark. Typically, people take a shotgun approach to change, hoping that if they implement enough food restriction and exercise, that surely they’ll achieve some level of success. Unfortunately throwing a bunch of haphazard strategies at fat loss, hoping that something will stick, only works on T.V.

Last month I presented a  new paradigm for your fitness and  weight management. An approach that does not use external measures of success such as specific meal frequency and timing,  specific food portions or society’s unrealistic standards of “ideal” weight and body shape. One that does not have you tearing up your body and over-training in the gym 2 weeks into your program. This new paradigm shifts the responsibility of the process, and the results, solely on  the individual.

It’s a sustainable solution that empowers you to get in touch with your internal cues of hunger and meal satisfaction. In turn, nurturing your relationship with food, while you reap the energy and vitality from meeting your body’s need for nutrients. It also gives you the opportunity to learn to enjoy participating in regular exercise and finally enjoy the health benefits of being active.

Sounds great, right?

One of the keys to achieving this is in the process. Instead of thinking only in the long term, establishing smaller, easily attainable weekly goals will set you up for success. Attempting to change too many things at once will only dilute your efforts and results. These weekly goals can come in many forms but if you want to make the most impact, choose goals that are most relevant to the outcome you seek. They should be behavioral in nature and powerful enough to make a big impact in your progress.

To help you out I’ve selected the top 10 behavioral issues people struggle with the most in their day to day lives. These ten are real barriers to change for a lot of my own clients and when systematically “corrected,” the outcome they seek is usually realized. Here’s my list (and by no means comprehensive) :

Top 10 Behavioral Habits to Adopt in 2013

 

  1. Eat a balanced breakfast.
  2. Reduce or eliminate caffeine, nicotine and energy drinks.
  3. Get at least 150 minutes of activity each week.
  4. Perform at least 5 minutes of daily stretching and relaxation techniques.
  5. Adopt a diet dominant in plant-based food sources.
  6. Learn to control emotional hunger cues.
  7. Reduce or eliminate alcoholic beverages.
  8. Accept nothing less than a good night’s sleep – every night!
  9. Implement a fluid management system.
  10. Create a network of supporters.

 

Not exactly breaking news is it? Yet most people continue to struggle to implement many of these behaviors into their routine. If your routine is missing any of these habits, I’ll bet your not feeling or moving as well as you should. Many of you might be only doing one or two, or worse, none at all. I’m going to dedicate the next few weeks to helping you out. Each week from here on, I’m going to zero in on only one of these behavioral goals for you to work on. I’ll explain the importance of each and offer strategies to get you started. To help you out with the accountability portion I recommend a free online service called HabitForge. They send you email reminders and motivation to keep you on track with your habits.

However you implement your habits, take it slow and only work on one at a time. This increases you change of success immensely. Some experts say it takes 21 days to adopt a habit, while other argue that it takes much longer than that. However long it takes to ingrain the new behavior into your subconscious is up to you. Change is not a race, rather it’s  a systematic process of repetition forged over a long period of time. Stay the course, and over time your diligence will deliver strength and stability to your mind, and body!

If you enjoyed this article, please quickly do me a favor and share with others and comment below.

 

Craig Simms
Craig Simms is a personal trainer and weight loss coach in Vancouver, B.C. Craig has been a fitness leader for over 11 years and has amassed over 15,000 hours of personal training experience in that span. He specializes in personalized weight management programs.
Craig Simms
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