Breaking habits and establishing new ones can be a difficult process.
As I shared in my The Joy Is Found IN The Journey post, I didn’t set out to change my lifestyle. I just wanted to lose 50 pounds because I thought reaching that goal would bring happiness. However, it was THROUGH the process that I discovered it was the ACTION that brought me happiness, not reaching the goal.
This is all well and good, but sometimes, I think we just don’t know where to start. Or, like many people, we try to change too many things at one time, leading to frustration, overwhelm and the demise of our efforts.
Today, I want to share a few of the things I believe led to my long-term success of not only losing 50 pounds but transitioning into living a healthier lifestyle.
When I first started, I drank Dr. Pepper 24/7. It was nothing for me to go through a 2-liter each day, and that little voice inside kept nudging me saying that continuing to do so would do me no favors. So, my FIRST goal was to limit my Dr. Pepper habit to just ONE (8oz) a day and drink lots of water the rest of the day. Baby steps.
Once I’d accomplished that goal, I set a new one. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Each time I set a small goal and reached it, it gave me the hope and encouragement that I could continue to do that over and over again. It was progress, and it was DOABLE without being intimidating. And, it didn’t take long for me to reach them, so there weren’t months passing without having that sense of accomplishment of reaching a goal. High reps, low weight.
I gave another example in my Do You Want To Improve Yourself post of setting a goal to read for 5-10 minutes a day.
It’s SO easy to do, but it’s also very easy NOT to do. The choice is ultimately up to you. Are you willing to do the easy things in order to have BIG results? Or, would you rather NOT do them and continue on your current path?
I don’t often encourage my clients to try to figure out why they felt/feel a certain way. However, I feel this is important because when it comes to exercise (or implementing any new self-discipline), I find that we tend to throw around A LOT of excuses without even thinking about why we use them.
For instance, when I was working a 40hr/wk job, I put off working out because “I didn’t have time.” Now. That seems like a legitimate excuse: I was a mom of 2 kids who were under the age of 2, I had my 3 bonus sons every other week, I was trying to stay on top of working a full-time job AND trying to keep up with the household duties as well. … Right?!?
But when I reflected on it and talked about what was really holding me back, I discovered that there were ways to work around the barriers that I had in my mind.
I thought that I would have to go to a gym to workout, which meant more time away from my family. The LAST thing I wanted was to be away even more!
I had no idea – other than walking on the treadmill – what to do at the gym
I thought I had to work out for 1-2 hrs a day in order to achieve my goal.
After breaking that down, I determined that there were other options and ways that I could work around those mental barriers.
Invest in a home-workout program – one time investment rather than a monthly gym membership. (Hooray for the win-win!)
By following a workout program, I didn’t have to figure out how I was going to work out. All I had to do was push play and follow the trainer. (Wash, rinse, repeat.)
It doesn’t take hours a day to sculpt your way to a tight, lean body. (Mind BLOWN!)
This is when I purchased P90X and I have to tell you, having spent HOURS a day in the gym and still not getting the results I wanted, this program FAR EXCEEDED my expectations. If you haven’t seen my transformation video, you can check it out here.
Even the most determined people have days when they fail. You can’t set out thinking that you won’t ever fail. Who doesn’t fail? We’re human! We fail!
Don’t judge yourself or mentally beat yourself up. You know what I’m talking about, right? That lecture you give yourself in your head? Don’t do it! That’s DETRIMENTAL to your success. (Plus, next time you’re doing that, listen to how you’re talking to yourself and ask yourself if you would ever speak that way to your best friend. Just putting that out there.)
When – not if – you DO fail, have a plan for getting back on track as quickly as possible.
One of the things that keeps me going is the “never miss twice” mentality. I love it! I know there are going to be days where I miss my workout or make unhealthy food choices.
However, if at all possible, I won’t miss 2 workouts in a row. Or if I eat an entire birthday cake (Ahem. I may or may not have actually done this!), my next meal will be a healthy one rather than just letting the whole day go to the can!
Slipping up with a habit doesn’t make you a failure. It just means you are normal. However, getting back on track quickly is what separates top performers from the “Everyday Joe.” Wash, rinse, repeat!
My favorite part of sharing this stuff is hearing back from you!
Have you had an experience with implementing a new healthy habit? If so, what was it and what is a tip that you could share with us about how you did it and stuck with it?