Updated: Feb 24, 2021
So you want to focus on your health and commit to going to the gym, eat healthier, cut out alcohol, do all the things. But you're finding it super hard to stick with the changes you've tried to implement. Sound familiar? I'm going to tell you the problem with people making changes. Ready? Here it is: we try to change too much all at once. For some reason we think that we can just wake up one day and say ok, it's time for me to start going to the gym. And by putting it out into the universe, somehow your willpower and motivation take control and you'll make this 5x per week commitment and BAM! You're an avid gym-goer. Sorry, it just doesn't work that way.
So what's the proven way to make changes that last? It's actually way simpler than you probably think. Here's the "secret": make small changes, gradually, over time. And celebrate small wins.
I know what you're thinking; you want things to happen NOW. You think if you don't change everything, you'll just continue down the path you're used to. Or you feel like you need to see results quickly and that's what will motivate you to keep going. The thing is, the more drastic the changes, the less sustainable they are. Here's what I suggest if your goal is to "run every day after work." Set an alarm on your phone to go off half an hour prior to running. That's the "put my workout clothes on" alarm. This action gets you one step closer to your run.
Next, make a 1-2 day/week commitment to yourself. Making the goal to run every day after work is probably too lofty (especially if you aren't a runner to begin with). Once you find yourself running 1-2 days consistently, then increase it to 3 or 4 days. Trying to take on too much will lead to burn out and quitting. Over time, you can increase the days or the duration/intensity of your run. (*Side note I'm definitely not a runner or a running coach so make sure you reach out to someone with experience if you need help on where to start and how hard you should be going).
I'll leave you with two pieces of advice; 1: Don't forget to celebrate the wins along the way. Did you actually put your running shoes on when your alarm went off? That's awesome! Did you hit your goal of getting on the treadmill twice this week? That's great! Be proud of your accomplishments no matter how small they may seem. 2: #TrustTheProcess . I can't tell you how many clients I've reminded to be patient. Nothing happens overnight. Change takes time and effort. Be patient with yourself. Keep going at a pace that works for you. Once you're ready for the next step, go out and crush it!
Celebrate progress, not perfection.
-Dana Watson, Owner of ThreeSixty Nutrition & Certified Nutrition Coach