So, you’ve committed to making changes to your health and fitness - I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOU! It might feel a bit intimidating because making change can be hard and you’ve probably tried before without any long-term success. Well, I LOVE that you’re ready to give it another shot and hope that I’m able to help you with these 5 tips to making lasting, positive changes in your health and fitness:
Have a plan. Take time to research and plan so that you can follow through consistently. What are the areas that you feel comfortable changing first? What exactly does that look like for you? Make sure you’re confident that these new habits and activities are realistic for you. Smaller steps are easier to achieve and can often get you to your goal faster than more ambitious ones.
Start small. Breaking down larger goals into smaller pieces helps to make them less intimidating. Consider starting with a 15- or 30-minute exercise routine instead of thinking it must be one hour (who decided that standard anyway?). Add one more home-cooked meal per week if you typically get takeout every night. You want the changes to be so small you’re practically guaranteed to succeed.
Change one thing at a time. Studies show that the success rate of changing one thing at a time is 80%. When you try to change two things at once it drops to less than 35%. Keep practicing your new, healthy behaviour for at least two weeks so it becomes a habit before adding another action. Abandon the idea of a “quick fix” and start to see the process as a life-long journey.
Buddy up. Finding a friend, co-worker or family member who is also looking to maintain healthy habits can keep you motivated and accountable. Whether it’s a gym buddy or a someone to trade recipes with, creating a network of like-minded people will help you feel less alone on your journey. Talking about what you are doing can also spark conversations and connect you with more fitness allies.
Ask for support. If you feel overwhelmed or are having difficulty sticking to the plan on your own, consider hiring a coach. There are many options available from online to in-person, individual to group programs, and most will offer a free consultation call up front. Take the time to do a bit of research and make sure that any coach you hire shares a similar philosophy to your own. This is a very personal decision. A coach that is fantastic for your neighbour’s daughter’s friend is not necessarily the best fit for you!
Making change takes time and commitment, but it IS possible. Just remember that no one is perfect and be prepared for a few detours along the way. Most importantly, start taking action! It can be as small as you want but do it today. Right now. Because only action leads to change.