Here we are again, another year another list of things that we want to change about ourselves. If you’re like most people, every year it seems to be the same short list of things we want to change. Number 1 on the list, obviously, it typically to live a healthier lifestyle. However, the list can range from eating better, to quitting smoking, exercising more, etc. But why is so hard to maintain? Why are the gyms packed in January, but almost empty again in February? It’s actually pretty simple. Here are 4 simple keys to help you make those changes you keep promising yourself you’re going to make.
The lifestyle that we live is an accumulation of habits over the years. Most of these are subconscious decisions we’ve made. Each moment we are faced with numerous decisions to make, all day. Almost all of them we make subconsciously. For example, your drive to work this morning? Do you actually remember backing out of the driveway? Or turning on your turn signal to change lanes? Or pressing the accelerator when the stoplight turned green? Chances are, probably not. And if you do remember one of those, I’m betting you can’t literally consciously remember all of them. It’s called subconscious cognition. It’s the human ability to make decisions subconsciously based on learned (and repetitive) behavior.
Our health habits (and relationship, work, etc but we’ll cover those another time) are no exception. Everyday we make subconscious decisions that greatly impact our health. Rarely, do we just say, “I don’t care anymore” and just do something to violate our health. The trick is to make yourself aware when faced with these decisions so you can rationally make the correct one.
So you’re aware now that you’re craving something really bad for you, or you are aware that tomorrow your lunch hour is going to be cut drastically short. So now what? Prepare!
Preparation is the biggest key to making good decisions. Just as an athlete or a musician prepares to perform, so must we. One of the first things I recommend to people trying to lose weight is to plan and schedule meals. Look ahead at the next day, see when you’re going to have an opportunity to eat and plan accordingly. Part of this planning involves asking questions such as: Will you be able to cook? Is their a microwave available? Will you have to eat quickly or on the go? By asking these questions you can cook ahead, pack raw food, pack easily mobile foods, eat raw veggies before you go out to eat, etc. There are many combinations to this equation but preparation is the main concept I want you to come away with.
Oh, the D word. How I hear so many people despise this word. I wish I had a dollar for everytime I’ve heard someone say they lack discipline. I’m calling shenanigans.
There are two things people confuse with Discipline. One is habits (which we are discussing now). The other is desire. There is a huge difference between eating fast food because you caved and eating fast food because you want to. If you truly want to do something then it’s fairly easy when you’re aware and prepare. When you want to lose weight but also don’t want to give up a value meal at McDonald’s then that’s an issue of incongruence more so than an issue of lack of discipline. Ask yourself what it is you truly want. Do you want to be healthy or do you want to eat a 1 lb bag of peanut M&M’s everyday? Whichever is more important to you ultimately will triumph.
The most underrated and underused key in making healthier lifestyle changes, hands down. Sure, we’re tough. We can do anything. We don’t need anyone’s help. At least that’s what tell ourselves. WRONG! Support and accountability is one of the four keys to success. Everyone wants someone to acknowledge how far they’ve come and how hard they’ve worked. It’s human nature. Occasionally everyone needs someone to give them a swift kick in the hind end to motivate them! We all get tired sometimes. Occasionally everyone needs someone to turn them around and head them back in the right direction. We all get sidetracked and lose focus from time to time. It’s what coaches are for. They are our teachers, cheerleaders, motivators, confidants and friends. Don’t go it alone. Find someone who will help you make the right decisions, motivate you to be better and help keep you on the right track.
Bradley and Michele are a husband/wife team of Beachbody coaches who have helped hundreds of people lose thousands of pounds and turn their lives around. If you would like them to be your personal fitness coach, and receive a personal health/fitness evaluation, simply email them at email@example.com or fill out the form below.