Make Fitness a Habit in 2015

10846338_10152891439004367_1050076319999695110_nMake your 2015 fitness goal about creating a habit of exercising regularly and keeping a healthy diet. How long does it take to form a new habit? Well it depends on the person but for most it takes about 2 months to form a new habit.

In a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, Phillippa Lally and her research team decided to figure out just how long it actually takes to form a habit. On average she found that it took about 2 months to form a new habit but factors like a persons behavior, discipline and circumstances effected how long it took for the habit to form. It took anywhere from 18-254 days for some people to form a habit.

Don’t worry about whether it will take you 2 months or almost a year to create this new habit. The only way to get closer to meeting your goal of living a fit life for the rest of your life is to get started now and eventually you’ll realize that your fit lifestyle seems effortless. And thats the sweet spot I want you to live in.

So lets break this big goal, to make a habit of exercising regularly and keep a healthy diet, down to size. If you follow the steps below you’ll make 2015 the year you finally get your health and fitness under control.

5W’s of your Fitness Plan 

Fill in the questions below about your exercise plan. We’ve all heard it before; “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” so take time to figure out who you’re working out with and when, what form of exercise you’ll choose to focus on, where you’ll workout and WHY you’re working out. Look back at this list during the first 3months of the year to remind yourself of what you should be doing.

Side Note: Don’t be cheap when you’re trying to figure out where you’ll exercise. I know far too many people who won’t pay for personal trainers, memberships to yoga studios or bootcamp but have no problem dropping big cash on their cars, clothes, furniture, and more. You get back what you put into things so paying for plotted out, regular workouts and getting accountability from working out with others WORKS FOR MOST PEOPLE. Getting a membership to the YMCA doesn’t work for most people. Invest in your health!

Who: Myself 2x’s/week, group fitness 3x’s/week, partner workout 1x/week
What: Workout videos at home 1-2x’s/week, crossfit 3x’s/week, yoga 1-2x’s/week
When: 5:30am MWF, noon T&Th, 10am on Saturdays
Where: Crossfit, my home, yoga studio or local park
Why: My health is declining and I need to make a change for the better before I become worse. I also need more energy for my job and family and greater confidence for myself.

Once you have these questions answered and a plan set in place, add the information to your smart calendar so you won’t accidentally schedule anything during your workouts. This step is the most important during the first 3-6months of creating your new habit.

Every 3 months you’ll re-visit this list and make changes where you’d like to. Maybe you’re getting into a new form of exercise, or maybe 5:30am workouts are going to work better for you after all, or maybe you’ve found a great workout partner and want to change your schedule a bit so you can join them for workouts 1-2x’s per week. Thats great! You don’t have to keep the same plan throughout the year. It can evolve with time but stick to your plan for at least 3months before you change it. Thats enough time for your body and mind to really adjust to the changes you’re making and switching things around in the middle of trying to form a habit will just confuse you and add stress to a plan thats supposed to be simple & mindless to carry out.

Nutrition

Once you’re exercising regularly I think you’ll be surprised at how your cravings will change.DSC_058011111 You’ll want fresh foods and fuel to help heal your body after your vigorous workouts. I talk a lot about this change in my post; Confessions of a Former Food Addict so take a look at the post to get a grasp of this idea.
Still, going into the new year I want you to feel confident about your food life too. Our diet has more of an impact on how we feel than exercise does so its important to have tools set up to keep yourself on the right track. Here are the steps you’ll need to take to form a habit of keeping a healthy diet.

1. Designate a Grocery Shopping day and DONT SKIP IT
Sunday is my day for grocery shopping and when I go I fill my cart with 75% produce. Start experimenting with foods by grabbing a new fruit or veggie you’ve never had before then looking up recipes online to learn how to use it. Get into fresh foods and start to swap your granola bar for an orange or your Jersey Mikes sandwich for a homemade spinach salad. Make small changes a little at a time to get fresh foods in and over time it will become a habit to eat this way.
2. Pre-Cook
I pre-cook so many of my foods on Sunday for the week ahead. I bake sweet potatoes then store them in a microwave safe rubbermaid container for easy re-heating, I cook chicken till its a bit pink inside so it doesn’t over cook when I re-heat it. Sometimes I cook big batches of chili or meatloaf so we have extra food to eat throughout the week. I have friends who go to cooking parties to pre-make meals to freeze at home which sounds fun if thats your thing!
This step is integral to your healthy diet so make time after you come home from the grocery store to prep foods for the next week. It will make your week easier and less stressful as you won’t have to worry about what you and the family will eat.
3. Keep a Food Diary
I make all my clients do this when they first sign on for training. Its a great way to account for what we’re really eating since so much of what goes in our mouths is mindless. Eventually you want to set up a schedule for eating that looks something like this:

breakfast
1.5-3hrs of nothing but water
snack
1.5-3hrs of nothing but water
lunch
1.5-3hrs of nothing but water
snack
1.5-3hrs of nothing but water
dinner
1.5-3hrs of nothing but water
bed OR snack
1.5-3hrs of nothing but water
bed

This is the food intake rhythm your body craves so shoot for making this daily layout a new habit too.

Reward Yourself reward-yourself

Reward yourself every 3 months for sticking to this plan. Get new workout clothes or a new outfit that flatters your body, schedule a vacation, splurge on something that you’ve been wanting for a while! This will motivate you to keep going and it will give you the sense of accomplishment you deserve for following through on your goal. If you don’t know how you’ll reward your self in 3 months then go ahead and schedule your reward day for April 1st as a reminder to think of what you’ll want to do at the 3 month mark. Make it good! You’ll deserve it:)

Thats it guys. Well, maybe you see this as A LOT of changes you’ll need to make but try not to be overwhelmed. Start with the 5W’s of Exercise, then add your exercise days and times to your calendar. Next figure out which day this week you’ll make it to the grocery store to fill your cart with 75% produce and then prep the food once you’re home. Once you do those things you’ve already started down the right path so get excited about the changes that will come your way! From there it takes dedication and commitment to the plan you’ve set in place. Commit to it for 3months and then reconvene to make changes if needed. Don’t complicate this. Its simple. Get started on your fitness plan for the new year and for the rest of your life today.

Refrences: http://jamesclear.com/new-habit

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