Are you tired of starting the New Year with high hopes of achieving your ultimate goals and living your most fulfilling life, only to watch them fizzle out as soon as your old habits resurface? Whether you’re eager to increase your fitness levels, improve your health, find the right work-life balance, or focus on your mental wellbeing, any New Year’s Resolution focused on self-improvement is achievable with the right approach and mentality. Unlocking your true potential to live your healthiest and happiest life isn’t necessarily about making a grand overhaul to your lifestyle, it’s about adopting small and healthy daily habits that will help you to make sustainable changes to your lifestyle. After all, if we are what we repeatedly do then success is not an act, but rather it’s a habit.
If you’re tired of feeling stuck in a rut or unsure of how to get back on track with your health and fitness goals, transforming your mindset and finding your inner motivation is key to creating healthy changes to your lifestyle that can be sustained for a lifetime. If you’re ready to take back control of your life and those unhealthy habits holding you back from being your best self, these are our top tips to make 2019 the year you transform your life:
1. Make nutrition a priority
If you are what you eat, why wouldn’t you want to fuel your body with only the most premium quality nutrition available? Did you know that everything we eat is either preventing disease or causing it? When you put into perspective the importance and power of nutrition, it allows you to make it a fundamental priority in your life. After all, health is not about the weight you lose, but about the life you gain!
When it comes to nutrition, it’s not about eating salmon and broccoli for every meal and it’s certainly not about starving yourself until you’ve reached your goal weight. Nutrition is about balance and about fuelling your body with nutritious foods that allow you to function optimally and get the most out of life. Simply put, you wouldn’t allow your car to reach empty and expect it to run efficiently, would you? The same applies to your body. If you’re new to nutrition and are trying to create healthier eating habits, try incorporating these few tips into your life for more sustainable results.
Variety - If you only eat certain foods, you run the risk of falling deficient in other important nutrients. Ensuring a well-balanced diet allows your body to get more of what it needs for optimal performance and functionality. Not to mention, you minimise the risk of rebounding to your old unhealthy ways as a result of getting bored of food repetition.
Portion control - Reaching your health and fitness goals doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice all the foods you love. Health is about balance - If you want to continue eating pizza and ice cream while enjoying a healthier lifestyle, that’s fine. However, where most people come unstuck is portion size and moderation. Instead of eating half a pizza, try eating just two slices. Likewise, try having one scoop of ice cream topped with your favourite seasonal fruits and nuts for a little extra flavour. Believe it or not, monitoring your portion sizes truly can be the difference between reaching your health and fitness goals or counteracting all of the hard work you’re putting in at the gym.
Don’t drink your calories - One of the fastest ways to undo your hard work is by consuming unhealthy drinks that are loaded with sugar and not at all filling. If you’re a soft drink enthusiast, try trading in the sugar-filled drinks for some water and a twist of lime or your favourite fruity flavour. Alternatively, why not make a fresh fruit juice or smoothie? They’re jam-packed with nutrition and guaranteed to fill you up faster!
Eat mindfully - In order to change our eating habits, it’s important that we learn to be mindful while eating. Once we’re more aware of chewing, tasting and enjoying the foods we eat, our brain is able to register the nutrients. Likewise, mindful eating generally results in slower eating, which is said to accelerate the feeling satiety and reduces the risk of overeating.
2. Learn to say no to bad habits
When it comes to rewriting old habits and trying to resist bad compulsions, we’re all looking for life hacks, quick tips and an easy way to fix these nasty habits we’ve spent years creating. However, the reality is, there aren’t any quick fixes when it comes to making lifelong improvements to your life. Within saying that, there are simple ways you can teach yourself to avoid giving in to the temptation of your old ways:
Open communication - Speak honestly with your friends and loved ones about your commitment to changing your habits. There’s no shame in telling those around you that you’re trying to transform your lifestyle for the better and will require their full support to do so. The people who truly care about you will help you reach your goals, while the ones who don’t will likely try to tempt you back into your old habits. The more honest and open you are about your health journey, the more others will back and support your journey. Better still, they’ll help to keep you accountable!
Remove the trigger points - If you know you’ll eat the packet of chips and the chocolate bar you just put in your shopping trolly, stop filling your cupboards and fridge with foods that are your weakness. The old saying ‘out of sight, out of mind’ rings especially true when it comes to healthy eating. After a while, your body will no longer crave these sugary snacks you used to eat mindlessly every day.
It’s all about mindset - If you can’t convince yourself of your commitment to changing your habits, you certainly aren’t going to convince anyone else. Take the time to understand why you want to change your habits, how you’re going to do it in a way that works best with your lifestyle, and envision how adopting healthier habits is going to allow you to live your best life. Focusing on the long-term results instead of the short-term gratification will help you to build the right mindset and attitude for saying no to bad habits and yes to lifelong, healthy changes.
Remove guilt & shame - Nothing good has ever come from allowing yourself to feel guilty and ashamed. If you’ve tried to correct your bad habits a million times before, only to find yourself back right where you started, don’t let that deter you from trying again. For all you know, the 1 millionth and 1 time could be the secret. Forgive yourself for not achieving your goals in the past and reaffirm your commitment to overcoming these bad habits. There’s certainly no shame in getting back up once you fall done, that’s called courage!
3. Start Small
Your health and fitness journey is not a race. The only person you’re trying to be better than is the person you were yesterday. So, what’s the rush? Believe it or not, great results come from starting small because big success is often just an accumulation of small successes. When it comes to achieving your goals, the secret to success is to aim high, start small, and keep pushing.
While big goals may inspire us to take action, they can also be intimidating and seem less attainable due to the time commitment required to achieve them. As such, setting yourself smaller daily, weekly and monthly micro-goals helps you to still feel a degree of accomplishment and the reassurance that you’re heading in the right direction to achieve your overarching goal. Better still, smaller goals allow you to maintain motivation, which is where most of us fall off the New Year’s resolution bandwagon.
For example, if you’re training for your first marathon, you wouldn’t start by forcing yourself to run 15km on the first day of training. Instead, you’d build up your endurance slowly by starting with a daily 2km run. Over time, the 15km and eventually the 42km will feel more effortless (well, to some extent) as you’ve conditioned your body gradually. Likewise, if you’re trying to lose weight after many years of indulgence and poor nutritional habits, you wouldn’t start by restricting yourself from every ‘bad’ food and running on the treadmill for two hours a day. Instead, you’d start by reducing sugary foods while simultaneously increasing your intake of quality nutrition, and starting your day with a brisk morning walk.
4. Make time for exercise
Exercise isn’t just about looking good in the mirror, it’s about feeling good physically and mentally. It’s no coincidence that you feel less stressed, less anxious and far happier when you exercise. Believe it or not, exercise is linked to far more than just managing your weight, improving your strength, and helping you feel more youthful for longer. From releasing happy chemicals into your brain and helping you feel more energised to boosting your confidence and helping to fight insomnia, the benefits of exercise from a mental health perspective are endless. And when it comes to incorporating exercise into your life, there are a few easy tips you can use to make the process easier:
Make exercise part of your day-to-day life - Do you really need to take public transport or the elevator? If it’s a manageable distance, why not walk instead? Whether you’re on your way to work or you’re running daily errands, there are plenty of small, yet effective changes you can make to incorporate more exercise into your day.
Find enjoyable exercises - The fastest way to lose motivation and to revert to your old ways is by choosing activities that you don’t enjoy. If you can’t stand jogging, try fast-paced walking instead. If you find weights boring, try doing a group fitness class. If you find solo exercise mundane, join a team sport. There is no ‘one style suits all’ approach to fitness. Find out what you enjoy doing and create a routine around it.
Embrace a routine - If you’re like most of us and are essentially purposeless unless you have a clear structure in place, why not create a routine? Simply start your week with creating a calendar outline of what your workouts will look like for the week. Give yourself a reason to jump out of bed in the morning!
5. Take time out for yourself
Making time for yourself isn’t a selfish act. In this day and age, our lives feel like they’re in fast forward. We’re rushing to and from work, trying to provide for a family, and making time to socialise with friends, all while trying to juggle the day-to-day commitments of our chaotic lives. The result? We get burnt out.
The old saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup” rings especially true when it comes to looking after ourselves and those around us. If we aren’t able to look after ourselves first, how could we possibly look after those who are also depending on us? Taking time out of your day to unwind and doing something for yourself is crucial to being the best possible version of yourself.
Make it a non-negotiable part of your daily routine - Whether it’s one of those days where you simply can’t find enough hours in the day or perhaps one of your most fulfilling days where downtime seems pointless, it’s important to set aside time for yourself every day. If you struggle to organise yourself, why not make your ‘me time’ at the same time every day. Treat it as if it’s an important client meeting that’s going to earn you a lot of money. I have no doubt that you wouldn’t think about cancelling that meeting, and your downtime should be seen in the same light. After all, your health is your greatest wealth.
Find something you enjoy doing - Downtime isn’t just about meditation or reflection, it’s about pressing pause on your busy life and creating space for you to find something that brings relaxation and enjoyment into your life. That may be a cup of tea outside, reading your favourite book, watching a documentary, painting or gardening. Doing something you love will naturally make you feel happier. Being happier improves your mental health and helps to relax the mind and body.
What are you waiting for? If the habits you’re following today aren’t helping you create a healthier tomorrow, let ASN’s Lifestyle Refresh Program change your future. For only $199, our 10-week Lifestyle Refresh Program will provide you with everything you need to hit refresh on your life and create wholesome lifestyle changes for a happier and healthier you. From functional training and fitness testing to meal guides, portion coaching and food psychologist counselling, this program is set to refresh your lifestyle in 2019. For more information or to register, please visit www.asnlifestylerefresh.com.au.