So say you are starting out on a new health and fitness plan. You’ve grocery shopped for fresh produce, lean proteins, low fat dairy items, whole grains and maybe some dark chocolate to savor. You may have joined a gym, downloaded the Couch-2-5K app on your iWhatever or signed up with an awesome, kick butt boot camp program.
Overwhelmed? Often times the actual implementation of a new plan can be overwhelming. Sometimes feeling overwhelmed can actually get in the way of your implementing your plans. And while new healthy habits take time to be developed you can do it. You just need a bit of patience. Try this exercise for a few days and see if this helps.
Tonight, before you go to bed, fill in the following sentence…
Today I will __________________________.
It can be walk for 30 minutes, eat 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables, drink water, work on a puzzle when you’re feeling stressed, sad, or emotional in any way and drawn to the cookie jar.
It can be anything to help you get closer to your fitness goals BUT it can only be ONE thing. Just one.
When you wake up tomorrow, read what you wrote and then do that one thing. When you do that one thing pat your awesome self on the back and be proud. You did that one thing – you were successful!
Now, even if you eat an entire bag of Mother’s Circus Cookies (OK – full disclosure, I LOVE these little waxy textured little gems) and you have done your one thing you have had a successful day. Today, the cookies don’t matter.
But wait, Keli (I can hear you now) – I just ate a thousand calories worth of cookies, how can that be a good thing? And you’re right, it’s not. But today we were just focusing on walking for 30 minutes and by golly, you did it and you were successful. Today, you reached a goal. Great job. (And I promise you, we will deal with those cookies soon enough.)
Now here’s where it gets fun. The next day you are going to wake up and do that one thing again. And then the day after that you are going to do that one thing again. And the day after and the day after and the day after that you are going to do that one thing again. This is how you develop a new behavior and a new habit; a healthier habit.
Soon, you’ll find that your 30 minute walk is becoming second nature, it’s something you just do. Like brushing your teeth or watching Grease 2 whenever it’s on cable.
And as you get comfortable with your new healthy habit you can follow the same steps with other habits. The key is to find a good habit to add so that the less than desirable habits get pushed out; if you eat 5-7 servings of vegetables and fruits, odds are you won’t have room in your belly for a bag of Mother’s cookies. Yes, you may try it once or twice but then you may settle for 4 or 5 cookies instead.
So tonight take a few minutes and figure out one thing to do tomorrow that will help you get that much closer to your health and fitness goals. Ah, ah, ah – just one. Remember, we are only trying to add one new healthy habit at a time.
Please let me know how this exercise works for you, I’d love to hear your feedback.
Now go run!