Beginning any new regime is difficult for a large majority of the population. It involves stepping outside of a comfort zone that you have become entrapped in. You may have been telling yourself for months, or even years, that you need to kickstart this new habit. However, much time has passed and you continue to be in a rut.
Many individuals will try quitting a bad habit (or picking up a new one) by diving right into it. This is possibly the worst thing to do, for most people at least. If you lack great motivation or ambition, or have been known not to go through with many of your goals, this article is for you.
The habits and routines mentioned below are some of the most common that people will attempt to begin, and may not finish.
1. A Healthy Diet
Substituting Pringles for peaches or cake for carrots is one of the hardest challenges most people in the Western society face. By walking into a grocery store and being tempted by all the treats may be difficult to keep you in the fresh produce aisle.
The most important thing to remember when you’re trying to change your diet is to not deprive yourself. This does not mean that for every broccoli head you finish, you can have three frozen dinners. Buy your favourite treat and only allow yourself to only have it once a day. Savour the flavour during that time of day; do not just gorge it all at once.
For every piece of junk food you crave, there is usually a healthy substitute. Instead of buying ice cream, purchase gelato, sorbert or frozen yogurt! Use only egg whites in your scrambled eggs and omelets rather than the entire egg (not using the yolk cuts down approximately 70 calories per egg AND you save yourself from indulging in too much cholesterol!). Use lean red meat and white meat as often as possible and always trim off the fat/skin. Go from whole milk to 1% or even skim (change your milk preferences gradually until you reach a desired taste for skim milk).
Simply substituting some of your favourites is the easiest method to acquire a taste for healthier foods.
Another seemingly difficult task for most to get around to. For some strange reason, there is enough time in the day to do all sorts of meaningless tasks, yet, when it comes to being active, many find excuses.
Motivation is usually the trait most people lack when it comes to exercise. They don’t like to sweat. The pain is too much. The gym is too far. All those excuses are easy to get around. One of my favourite quotes by my coach is “Pain is only temporary. Medals last forever.” You don’t need to be a competitive athlete to apply this. Interchange “medals” for “success” and you have the same result. Working out will hurt, but the results you get are worth every drop of sweat.
Is your gym too far away? Can you not afford a membership? This should not be an issue to get out there and be active. Going for a run outside is free. Whenever I do not feel like going out for a run, despite the weather, I just get dressed and put on the running shoes. Once you get as far as that you think, I may well run for a little. As soon you get going, you may feel motivated to go longer than you originally planned. Also, you can do many body weights at home, or invest in a few dumbbells or exercise videos.
Don’t start off an intense exercise schedule right away. The ideal would be to try and get in at least 30 minutes a day of an activity that will get your heart rate up. However, starting off with maybe three runs a week and two body weight sessions a week are ideal for the first several weeks. Getting the workout over and done with first thing in the morning is the best. You won’t have the rest of the day to make up excuses and you’ll feel great!
Most importantly, don’t forget to have an adequate warm up and cool down AND stretch after each session! This is so important to ward off any injuries.
Ironically enough, this is the trait many put off on changing. It seems easy, but even I can say from experience that it is difficult. With so many distractions amongst us (cellphones, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, StumbleUpon), getting things checked off of the To Do List becomes nearly impossible.
I discovered a nifty internet app you can download to cease procrastination. Download “Vitamin C for Productivity” (you can find it easily if you Google it). All you have to do is enter all the websites that distract you and then enter the length of time it should be blocked for. Ta da! Now you can work! I find this app definitely worthwhile to download (there are no viruses associated with it either!). I find it works best with Google Chrome.
As for your cellphone, put it to charge somewhere far away from you. While it is charging, keep it on silent just so you don’t get tempted to check. Now move your laptop/workstation far away.
These are just some general ideas to try and start a good routine.
It takes time for everything to fall into place. Trying to apply just some of these ideas can be worthwhile.
If you have any questions regarding nutrition or exercise, feel free to ask me any questions. I have many resources and am quite enlightened on both topics, so I can give your the right answer.
What good routine do you want to kickstart? Or what bad habit do you want to break?