If you do what you always do, you’ll get what you always get. If you actually want to change your body and your fitness level, things in your life will have to change. But, the problem is that humans are creatures of habit and we often do things, not because we need to, but rather because it’s just the way we’ve always done them. So part of being successful at any endeavor is making sure you set up your life to increase the chances of success!
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The first step to getting control of your habits that may be sabotaging your efforts is to become aware of your patterns. Completing a log that tracks your day and your exercise and dietary habits is helpful to allow you to examine your behaviors. Once you discover what actually stimulates your less-than-healthy behavior, you then have the choice of either changing the stimulus or situation or changing your response to the stimulus or situation. Review the following examples to help clarify the action steps.
Step One: Recognize what stimulates the unhealthy action. Become aware of the habit. Monitor your schedule, your activity level and what you eat, when you eat, who you are with and how you felt.
- I’m too tired after work so instead of exercising, I go home instead
- When I’m depressed I eat junk food
- Whenever I start a workout program, I always quit after a month.
- Whenever I go out with Patti, we always drink too much and eat terribly
- Every Friday night, friends come over to watch a rental movie and I always eat 4 slices of pizza
- Every time I eat ice cream, I always order a double scoop
- I always go to the cafeteria and buy 2 chocolate chip cookies for my mid-afternoon break
Step two: Either change the stimulus or change the response
Looking at the above situations, you have 2 choices:
Either change the stimulus….
- Schedule your workouts before work so you’re not so tired and less likely to skip your workout
- Try not to get overly depressed, instead, attempt to examine whether there could be any positive outcomes from the very difficult situation. Try to develop the skills to become an optimist. It’s the glass half empty vs full approach.
- Try another type of workout program that may be more fun and enjoyable for you so you’re less likely to quit.
- When you go out with Patti, bring along another friend who may be a better influence
- Instead of watching a movie, schedule a hike or a walk with your friends
- Instead of ordering ice cream, order a fruit salad
- Take a short walk on your break instead
Or change the response…..
- When you feel like skipping the workout because you’re tired, invite a friend to meet you at the gym so you have to go. And remind yourself that even though you’re tired, you’ll feel so amazing when you’re done.
- When you get depressed, watch a funny movie or call a best friend or go for a long walk
- When you feel like quitting, schedule a session with a trainer to help you stay on track and find some extra motivation. Consider scheduling a weekly or monthly session to assure you are always progressing and have the accountability you need to succeed.
- You and Patti make a healthy dinner at home and decide that you’ll drink 2 glasses of water for every beer or alcoholic drink
- Order Japanese instead of pizza
- Order 1 scoop of ice cream instead of 2
- Eat an apple on your break and see if that curbs the craving. If not, allow yourself one cookie.
In order to experience some life-changing results, you will need to change parts of your life. Transformations don’t have to be difficult but they will require some time and effort. Half of the battle comes from becoming aware of what you need to change that may be making it harder for you to success.
Yours in health & fitness,
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