Creating New Sustainable Lifestyle Habits
According to fitness and location apps, January is without a doubt the busiest time of the year for gym memberships, as it is inevitably “that time of the year again”. The New Year is popular for resolutions pertaining to fitness or making the “best version of ourselves”. If exercise and fitness are important (as they should be because of all of the health benefits!), then that is great, but set realistic goals for your lifestyle and schedule so you can create healthy sustainable lifestyle habits that will continue to give and benefit you not only in January of 2020, but for the rest of your life.
It is more important to think long-term versus short-term fixes, such as the whole 30, crash dieting, or No Sugar January. Although all of those things can be beneficial and effective, are they sustainable for your lifestyle? It’s not always what you do in the month of January that counts. It is what you do the other 11 months of the year that will have a long lasting effect. Creating lifestyle habits can be challenging so set obtainable goals.
Keys to creating sustainable lifestyle changes or habits:
Make a list of health and fitness goals. This could be anything from drinking more water, running a 5k, going to your first group class ever, or stepping into the gym for the first time, decreasing sugar intake, or eating more whole foods. Habits are settled or regular tendencies or practices, especially ones that are hard to give up. Find something that is hard to give up and find something that gives you a reason to keep going back to make it a regular practice - this will set you up for success!
Tips for implementing exercise-based lifestyle sustainable habits
- If adding in aerobic exercise or strength training is on the top of your list, then first find an activity you enjoy: cross country skiing, alpine skiing, running, fitness classes, spin classes, yoga, boxing, circuit training, Crossfit, swimming, walking, or going to the gym. Find something that you feel connected to, enjoy, or are passionate about.
- Slowly weave this new habit into your schedule once or twice a week for the first 2 months and then incorporate it more often as you adjust to your new schedule.
- Make it a priority and don’t make excuses. It is easy to come up with one million reasons why you can’t go today, and if there is a time conflict then, try to find an alternate day to weave in your new activity. Showing up is half the battle.
Tips for integrating nutrition-based lifestyle habits
- Pick one thing to focus on every month. So, if drinking more water is your top priority, then focus on drinking more water for the month of January. You can be proactive by setting alarms on your phone every two hours to drink water. Or start drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning and right before you go to bed, and you may find you crave more water throughout the day.
- Once you are well on your way into drinking more H20, you may decide drinking water is now second nature and you want to focus on decreasing your sugar intake. Each week set a goal: take out one thing you eat/drink that contains sugar and replace it with a healthier option. For instance, replace your morning coffee with Stevia or try almond milk instead of your normal sugar and cream. In week two or three, once the coffee train is underway, replace your lunchtime treat with a healthier option: instead of that daily cookie, try a Kind bar with only 5g of sugar or a piece of fruit. These small changes will take time, so focus on one thing and you will set yourself up for success and slowly start to feel better over time and avoid afternoon crashes.
Tips to set a SMART goal:
Remember, a little goes a long way!
Cheers and good luck with incorporating sustainable lifestyle habits to enrich your life!