Change is hard. Old habits are difficult to break and new habits are challenging to establish. You are definitely not going to completely change your lifestyle overnight, but if you want to begin making some changes there are ways to help and support you along the way.
The key is starting small and with low commitment. Incorporating one new thing into your life is so much more manageable than changing everything all at once. After reading the Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, the phrase “we are creatures of habit” was really illustrated in my mind. We have the ability to create the kind of life we want to live and we can change. However, sometimes we first have to be aware of the choices we are making and ask ourselves “why am I doing this?” A lot of the time, the answer will be, “because that’s what I did yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that.”
Positive reinforcement is also something to not throw to the dogs. It really does work. If you can connect something you know you should do but don’t enjoy doing it, with something you do enjoy you will be much more likely to complete that task. We are brilliant at creating excuses for ourselves, so turn that to your advantage. Don’t put that run off because you’d rather watch TV; tell yourself you can watch TV as a reward for your run. After a while, it might become second nature to wait until you’ve finished your workout to relax on the couch.
My friend Alexandra Taylor got me hooked on these 30 day fitness challenges. Linked is an example of a plank challenge. It might be easy to find an excuse not to go to the gym everyday (who has time for that?) but a few simple exercises that you can do at home for a five minutes? There is no excuse and this is a great way to start introducing exercise into a regular routine! One tip though, it helps to do it with a friend. It’s nice to have the support for an occasional reminder and a little added pressure to make sure you keep up with the program.
I wish all my readers luck on whatever changes you might be trying to incorporate into your lives this year, Happy 2014!