Self-Care

3 Ways to Make Fitness & Nutrition Habits Stick

By October 1, 2019 No Comments

I’ll resume healthy eating and working out after my vacation… once the baby is born… after my child’s birthday week… tomorrow… Monday.

Does this sound familiar?

With everything going on in your life right now, it might seem inevitable that you’ll miss workouts, make unhealthy food choices and – ultimately – fail in your goal to becoming a healthier, happier you. Why not put it off or take a break and wait until you have the time to do it right?

Here’s why:

Like it or not, the game of life keeps going.
There is no timeout.
There’s never going to be a moment when things are magically easier.
You can’t escape work, personal, and family demands. Nor can you escape the need for health and fitness in your life.

We all want to do our best, and taking time to regroup and start over when life feels easier is tempting. We address this in the 90 Days of YOU! program and call it the “pause button mentality.” While completely natural and well-meaning, this impulse is one of the fastest, surest, most reliable ways to sabotage your plans for improved nutrition, health and fitness.

Whether it’s tomorrow, Monday, next week, or even next year, hitting that imaginary pause button gives you some sense of relief. This perceived relief is compounded by the illusion that if we “start fresh” later we can find the magical “right time” to begin.

I get it – it can feel unreasonable to try to improve your eating and exercise habits while you’re in the midst of chronic stress / going on vacation / starting a new job / waiting for your child to sleep through the night / caring for an ailing parent… the list goes on.

If and when you consider pressing pause, ask yourself this:
“What will be different when you come back?”

Nine times out of 10, the honest answer is nothing. Nothing will be different.

Life is just…happening. And it’ll happen again in September, or after the baby is born, or after your kiddo goes to pre-school, or at any other arbitrary point you pick.

I’ve definitely wanted to press “pause” myself. But I’ve realized that something is always going to be better than nothing.

Life would continue. Running a business would only get more demanding. My boys will always throw us curve balls.

I realized I couldn’t wait. I couldn’t press pause. Because if I didn’t continue, there’d never be that “perfect time” to hit play again.

The key is to keep going. Sometimes awkwardly, sometimes incompetently, sometimes downright half-assed. But keep going nonetheless.

The “all-or-nothing” mentality rarely gets us “all.” It usually gets us “nothing.”

HERE’S YOUR NEW STRATEGY:

From here on out, let’s think of your fitness and nutrition efforts as a dial. Instead of pressing pause, adjust the dial. There are times when you’ll want to dial your efforts up, and times when you’ll want to dial them down. But you’ll never want to turn the dial off completely.

Instead of “all-or-nothing,” our mantra that we use in 90 Days of YOU! is “always something.”

Perfection never happens in real life.

We’re always going to be doing the best we can with what we have. And that’s okay.

We can still make progress toward our goals and still improve our health and our fitness – whatever’s going on in our lives.

Here are a few strategies for getting out of the pause-button mentality and into a more realistic, effective, sustainable way of thinking as we continue to move forward.

STRATEGY #1— Try the dial method.

Think of your fitness like a dial that goes from 1-10.
If you were to dial it up to 10…

  • What would your workouts look like?
  • What would your nutrition look like?
  • What other actions/habits would you practice in that scenario?

If you were to dial it down to 1…

  • What would your workouts look like?
  • What would your nutrition look like?
  • What other actions/habits would you practice in that scenario?

Giving thought to your life right now, where is your dial set?
Would you like to make any adjustments?
Could you move the dial up a channel, or even half a channel?
If so, what would that look like?

On the other hand… Should you move the dial down a channel so you can stick with health and fitness even during a difficult time? Everyday that dial may move just a little, or take a big swing depending on what’s happening in your life. (Husband traveling, kids sick, on vacation, day off from work, etc.)

Nutrition-Dial

STRATEGY #2— Aim for a little bit better.

Consistently make small improvements over time—it works.

You might be trying to make a meal out of airport food, spending hours awake with your child in the middle of the night, or stuck in yet another full-day meeting. These aren’t ideal scenarios, but they’re not hopeless either.

Look around. Get creative. See if you can make some small — maybe minuscule — improvements.

STRATEGY #3— Anticipate, strategize and plan.

Since we already know that stuff is going to go wrong, the best thing we can do is anticipate and make plans for how to deal when they do.

A simple way to do this is by answering two questions:

  1. What’s likely to get in the way of what I hope to accomplish?
  2. What is something I can do today to help me keep going when I face those obstacles?

For some of you, that looks like a Sunday ritual where you prep food for the week so you’re not scrambling for healthy meals on busy weeknights. For others, it means having a healthy meal-delivery service on speed dial.

You know things WILL go haywire – by participating in programs like 90 Days of YOU!, you can arm yourself with the best tools and strategies so you can stay in the game when you’re thrown a curveball!

Learn more about 90 Days of YOU!