I’ve been thinking about what keeps us from reaching our goals. Part of my day to day job as a trainer that I love is taking a look into my clients lives and figuring out together how to better reach their goals & create a healthy lifestyle they can maintain. With lots of contemplating and discussing, I’ve decided that one of the biggest stumbling blocks are the unhealthy habits that have become a part of our lives that we may not even recognize as habits.
Let me shed some light on what I’m talking about. Maybe you always set your alarm for 30 minutes before you have to leave out the door, therefore leaving you with no time to eat a healthy breakfast in the morning. Maybe you always put the chips in the most convenient cupboard so you know exactly where to go when the salty craving hits. Or you always go with a friend to the gym who just wants to chat the whole time so you never really get the workout you want, haha gotta love those chatty friends! It could even be just going to the same grocery store you always go to, and walking the same route you always do, which conveniently leads you right to the ice-cream isle or the dang Oreo section! Then we buy them, and then we have to eat them.
The point is that these un-healthy habits are the things we do throughout our daily/weekly routines without even realizing we’re doing them. We’re probably looking beyond the mark with what we think we need to change to reach our health and fitness goals, when it could actually just be simple and right in front of us.
My suggestion for breaking through this road block is CHANGING THINGS UP. Shake up your routine. I’m going to give you 3 suggestions that I’ve given to my clients to help detach from those un-healthy habits keeping us from our goals.
Ok but first things first, let’s define a habit: it’s a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up. Dig deep and think of an un-healthy habit that is part of your life right now. If you think of how to get rid of a bad habit, doesn’t it make sense to change your routine! This brings us to my first suggestion.
Change up your daily routine. Shuffle things around. Get creative and go crazy with this. If late night snacking is your issue, change up your entire nightly routine. This could be saving your plate of dinner until after your kids are asleep so that you have it ready to eat instead of your snacking habit. By shuffling your routine a bit, you’ll have no time to snack on the bad stuff! If a good nights rest is your struggle, maybe try sleeping on the opposite side of your bed away from where your phone is plugged in so you get a better sleep. Totally guilty of this! Maybe it’s going to the grocery store in the morning instead of the end of the day when you’re tired and hungry. Or if those tempting drive throughs get ya, try even changing the route home you take so that you don’t have to pass all those luring signs. Small rituals we have may trigger bigger behaviors, so best to just mix it all up!
Out with the bad and in with the good. When you get rid of something in your life, it makes sense to replace it with something better right? This step is in hopes of avoiding the empty hole that can be left when we remove something that’s been a habit. Say you want to stop drinking soda. Well you’re still going to reach for that can of soda habitually unless you have something else to replace it with. Try a La Croix drink or some sort of sparkling water to get you that same fizzy goodness.
Learn to control what you can, and deal with the rest. There’s a sense of power that comes from being in control of our lives and decisions, rather than letting life just happen to you. Sometimes things our legitimately out of our hands, and the important thing is to do our best at bouncing back. However, I argue that In any situation we have some aspect that we can control. Even if it’s just our mindset, we have control over that. You may not be able to have control over your crazy Tuesday schedule of carpooling kids back and forth and them screaming in the back seat because they’re hungry after soccer practice, but you do have control over prepping some healthy snacks for you and the crew in the car to have amidst all the chaos. You may not have control over where your family chooses to go out to dinner, but you do have control over making an educated healthy choice off the menu (avoiding a sugary drink, getting your meat grilled, not eating the whole bread basket, etc.) Flexibility is key here as well. Don’t forget to live life. If a friend brings you her homemade banana bread, you say thank you and enjoy it. Then you just bounce right back into your healthy routine.
A final thought is to be patient with yourself. If you think about it, habits aren’t created overnight, good or bad. If you’ve been doing something a certain way for 15+ years, that behavior isn’t going to just change over night. These adjustments take time. All that matters is that you’re moving in the right direction. Even if you take 3 steps forward and a couple steps back, you’re still better than you were when you started!