Like so many people, I have decided to be healthier in 2015. So far I have lost 20lbs. I have done this by making healthier choices every day and celebrating those choices. It pumps me up and keeps me working toward my goal. Recently I have hit a plateau and am finding it hard to stick to my path of healthy living. I’ve done some research on how to get back on track.
- Make exercise a part of your routine. There’s been much debate on how long you have to do a task repetitively until it become a habit. Some say 21 days and other say a month. A more recent study suggests 66 days before your exercise becomes automatic and hard not to do. I’m trying to get out and walk every evening. Last winter I tried walking on the treadmill daily and even moved it to the living room, thinking watching my favorite show while walking would be enticing, but I never managed to make it a habit. Walking outside now that it is Spring should help me make this a habit.
- Make realistic short term goals. Fixating on your long term goals can feel overwhelming and set you up for disappointment. Instead, set realistic goals that you can achieve daily or weekly: Bike for 35 minutes instead of 30 minutes, hold a plank position for 15 seconds longer, or shave five seconds off of your 5K time. Achieving short-term goals gives you a sense of triumph that keeps you motivated on the way to your long-term goals.
- Document your progress. Keeping a journal or writing a blog is a great way to keep track of your overall progress. Take note of how you feel each day during your workout and be sure to praise yourself for any fitness gains that you made. Fitness trackers with pedometers, such as UP by Jawbone or Fitbit, can be helpful since they can record your progress inside and outside of the gym. There are plenty of online journals to use for documenting your exercise and food intake.
- Be accountable to someone other than yourself for your daily activity. Working out with partners who share similar fitness goals is a smart way to exercise consistently. Sign up to run a 5K and train with a partner. Join the mall walkers in the morning. Take a friend to a new yago series. A recent study found that working out with a group encourages competition and might push you to exercise harder and longer than you would alone.
- Focus on the task at hand. Leave your smartphone in your gym bag. Stopping to answer a text decreases your heart rate and you won’t benefit as much from the time you have dedicated to the workout. If you need music to move you, consider an MP3 player.