6 Cheats to Start Healthy, New Habits
Having an a hard time sticking with your healthy lifestyle mission? Here are some cheats to help you focus on winning. Hint: Go slow, steady and accumulate small wins.
Reverse Calendar: This is my favorite method for making new habits. Instead of planning ahead, look back. It is so much easier to stay motivated when you see how many days you have done right instead of dreading the challenges ahead.
Buy a wall calendar or print out sheets of calendar. Put a big X for the days you worked out and another X for the days you followed your eating plan. After one month you really see how great you have done.
4 days a week: Start eating healthy, working out or any other desired habit just four days a week! Five to six out of seven days of good behavior is a huge expectation for a beginner. It takes time to grow into that person.
Self-discipline is a muscle just like the muscles in your body: it needs time to rest and recuperate before being worked again. Aim for just 4 days a week for 90 days, then step up your game. Think, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.
90 day consistency challenges: It take 21 days to make a habit, right? And 30 days challenges are easy because you can power through knowing it is soon over. But it takes 90 days for the habit to become a consistent part of your life. Don’t focus on intensity, focus on consistency. This is the difference between average and champion – CONSISTENCY. I use this technique regularly to cultivate new and productive habits in my life.
Every 90 days focus on just two or three behaviors to focus on: reading about business, practicing language skills, cleaning regularly, lifting weights, cooking. The first 3 weeks are terrible. I usually barely meet my expectations and feel sorry for myself. After that, I remind myself why I am doing this and it my will power pushes me through it. If you can do something consistently for 90 days, it usually sticks.
Staple meals: This is the bread and butter of your health and fitness plan. These are the healthy, easy meals that you eat on a regular, if not daily basis. Every personal trainer and professional athlete eats pretty much the same thing weekly. Once your meals become more nutrient rich, your body will start to crave these simple meals instead of getting sick of them. Find 5-10 healthy meals and snacks that you enjoy and eat them repeatedly.
My favorite small meal: sliced apples with peanut butter mixed in yogurt. My favorite easy dinner: A large pot of sliced vegetables with potatoes or almonds, mix with olive oil, salt and pepper, stick in oven for 40 min at 210C/400F. Boom, done. Along with soups, this one is great for emptying the fridge of all those veggies before they go bad.
Log your workouts and your goals: Write things down and read them often. This is the action of you taking ownership of your health and future. It makes such a big difference in your motivation to write things down and reflect on them. Know why you are doing this. Know that in 6 months your situation will be different.
Record what you did and how much weight you used, what was hard and what was easy in the workout and the awesome new exercise you learned.
Prioritize your nutrition and activity: This is the most important. You will never succeed in something if the subject is not a priority in your life. Again, write things down.
Make time, not excuses. Allow yourself some leeway and forgive yourself for not being perfect. Again, it is about consistency not perfection.