New Year has just whizzed past us, it all went so quickly didn’t it? With that in mind we don’t want to miss a second of our new years plans, which means it’s time for a new chapter in life, right? Certainly, the most popular resolution is to lose weight and live healthier. We’ve all been there: we got pumped up about starting a fresh fitness-focused lifestyle, we told ourselves that this time is going to be different, we stayed motivated for about a week, and then we went back to our comfort zone and unhealthy habits, thinking – maybe next year. How does one’s enthusiasm fizzle out so quickly? Well, you may need a different approach.
Read on to find out easy hacks for achieving your health and fitness goals: we guarantee you’ll enjoy turning things around.
Introduce triggers to form a new habit
Researchers from the UCL have established it takes up to 10 weeks to form a habit, depending on the nature of the desired behaviour. In order to make exercising a habit, you need to introduce triggers. These can be time-based (e.g. continuously going to the gym at 7.30AM) or event-based (e.g. going to the gym after breakfast). This way, you are gradually adopting a behaviour your brain will soon perceive as a habit, i.e. a normal and usual action during the day. The method is very effective and it helps you stay on the right track.
Work out at home
When you begin a workout regime, it takes so little to give up on the training. Excuses can be various: it is raining, it is too cold, I don’t have the time, my dog will be lonely without me, etc. To prevent yourself from falling into this self-sabotaging behaviour, consider working out at home. There are undeniable advantages to this: home gym works all year round, 24/7, it is a huge time-saver, there’s no need to pay a membership fee, and you have the comfort of building your physique within your personal sanctuary. All you need is some basic commercial fitness equipment, a bottle of water, a towel, and some adrenaline-raising music to keep you pumped up. Having a workout room will help you concentrate and it increases your chances of sticking to a training program.
Indulge yourself occasionally
Don’t torture yourself with rigorous diets as they will backfire: they are bad for your health, ineffective, and they promote food cravings. The key lies in changing your eating habits – not reaching out to “fast“ solutions. Healthy nutrition doesn’t have to be extreme or tasteless, and it often includes just smarter food choices (e.g. choosing more protein food and complex carbs over sugary foods). Learn to listen to your body’s needs and don’t feel guilty about having a cupcake or a burger here or there.
A recent study has shown having a cheat day can actually help you stick with your goals. Too much self-control can put you through unnecessary stress and increased levels of cortisol (the so-called “stress hormone“) make your body resist weight loss. Plan these hedonic deviations and you’ll find yourself more balanced and in a better overall mood.
Wear stylish workout clothes
If you’re looking for motivation, you might not need to go further than your wardrobe. Certain designs can enhance your performance while the psychological side is even more intriguing. Scientists have discovered a mental shift one feels when wearing certain types of clothes and they’ve called it “enclothed cognition“. Simply put, our brains are set into a specific mood when we wear clothes that have a distinctive purpose.
Invest in well-fitting exercising gear that makes you feel confident and ready to break a sweat. Another great thing that’s bound to happen after just a few weeks: when you slowly start to build muscle mass and lose fat, your body will look leaner and those clothes will fit better.
Keep your eyes on the prize
The most important thing to remember is the reason you’re doing it. Set your goals so they are realistic and precise. Instead of saying general things like “I want to lose weight“, be more detailed about it. Say “I want to lose 4 pounds in a month“. This way, you have a more concrete goal and you’re directing your actions more effectively. A goal doesn’t have to be measured through your weight. It might be even better if you set challenges for yourself so they don’t have anything to do with your appearance but with your strength: set a goal for yourself to do an extra 10 crunches tomorrow.
Remember: you’re the only person who has the power to change your body.
In order to persist with your training, you have to have a clear plan and measure results. Chances are, you’ll discover the potential your body has and start pushing it to its limits. Once you manage to do that, you’ll get hooked on a feeling and the lack of motivation won’t be a problem anymore.
About the Author:
Zara Lewis (Twitter: @ZaraELewis) is a mom, fitness & yoga enthusiast and a regular writer for High Style Life. She is devoted to implementing healthy life habits in every aspect of life of her family and friends. She loves to share her parenting tips and is always open to learning some new skills, because she sees her parenthood as going to school forever. She enjoys travelling, hiking, cycling and baking.
Hope you all have an amazing week and I’ll see you Friday evening for a sneaky ‘cheat’ recipe that is going to knock your socks off.