CHANGING HABITS: MORE LIKE A MARATHON THAN A SPRINT
Behavior is a funny thing, but a crucial and often overlooked component in a healthy and active lifestyle. We beat ourselves up when our plans fail, but often don’t really know, or even wonder, why they fail. Our goal is to shed some light on these matters and give you some easy tips and tricks to help you change.
A new month, a new topic. We want to talk about habits with you guys. Everybody knows someone who tried a ‘quick-fix’ diet. Lose an X amount of weight in 12 weeks! After this period, they revert back to their old diet… and their old physique.
Everybody also knows someone who started exercising, sometimes even enthusiastically but quit after a few weeks. Or just after the first run. (It was raining, you can’t run in the rain!)
What’s our point? Creating a new lifestyle isn’t easy. The habit of consistently eating right for your goals is something that is learned over time, and not just in 12 weeks. Sometimes it takes 12 months, or longer. That doesn’t mean you’re not making great progress, it just means you’re constantly learning.
Creating healthy habits is more like a marathon than a sprint. You evenly build up your race and commit your time and resources to make it sustainable. You don’t throw everything you have into battle from the first kilometer because you’ll be gassed out in no time – and you’ll have no choice but to give up before reaching the finish line.
You will fail, more than once
Having said that, I want to make a very, very important point: you will gas out. You will fail. You will break your newly acquired healthy habits. And that is TOTALLY fine. But don’t beat yourself up over it. Guilt makes people do stupid things, like an all-green juice fast that will make you lose 7 pounds in 7 days – and gain it all back again because it’s just not sustainable.
Bottom line? You will fail, more than once, while creating healthy habits. Don’t feel guilty. Consistency is essential for long-term results: just stir back onto the right path.
Your environment is essential to your success. If you don’t change it to be conducive to your goals, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. That might mean changing what you buy, how you set up your day or even how you interact with certain people.
People are often scared of change. Even if it doesn’t affect them directly. They see you eating healthy? They’ll tell you you’re being too strict. They see you limiting your alcohol intake? They’ll tell you you’re being boring. Etcetera etcetera.
Ideally, you explain what it is you’re trying to accomplish and that you’ll appreciate their help in making it easier for you. That won’t always happen, so you tell them that they should put a sock in it or you limit your interaction with them. If that’s not a possibility, then find like-minded people that will support you and your efforts.
Everything in moderation, even moderation.
We often think in periods, like a 3-month weight loss program or a 6-week exercise regime, but being healthy and creating the habits to accomplish that are things you have to practice for life. Of course, you’ll have periods where things might not seem ‘healthy’, but that’s totally normal. Everything in moderation, even moderation. That means you’ll sometimes have a crazy full out food-filled frenzy with friends with liquor overflowing the cups and all that jazz. That’s good. And healthy. Do it, and don’t feel guilty. Just go back to the basics afterwards. Continue that for life and you’ve got it figured out.