It’s the first of the year and that means New Year’s resolutions are waiting to be fulfilled or dropped by the wayside like a wrapper from a quickie burger. Most people have either habits they want to encourage or ones they want to end. However, all New Year’s resolutions, regardless of whether they’re a new venture you want to start or an old habit you want to quit revolve around changing a previous habit. Even if your resolution is working out more, you’re still trying to change the habit of being sedentary. You can break those bad habits and start this year right with a little help.
What started your bad habit?
Whether it’s quitting smoking, leading a sedentary life or eating every type of junk food available, something started it. It might have come from boredom or stress. Maybe your mother told you that a good rest was great for stress, when in reality, exercise is the best. Stress eating and boredom eating are habits that can send your scales begging for help. Find out what caused the bad habit if you can and start a program to replace it with a good habit.
Figure out a program that helps you replace the bad habit.
Scheduling your workout will help you replace the habit of hitting the couch. So will setting a timer for every fifty minutes to remind you to move more that hour. (Studies show that sitting at a desk for longer than an hour can actually wipe out some of the benefits of the gym.) One client loved to snack. She simply changed the food available from unhealthy to healthy. She never gave up snacking, but lost weight because she changed the food.
Find the perfect substitute for your bad habit.
If you’re stressed out, don’t grab food or a cigarette, run up and down the stairs at work or at home. Do some heavy breathing workouts for a few minutes and you’ll feel the stress start to melt. You may still want to smoke or eat, but this small diversion helps give you more will power. If you skip working out or procrastinate starting a workout program, get a workout buddy. They keep you accountable. A personal trainer provides that accountability, too.
- Log your progress. Winners keep records. Sometimes, just writing down when you were tempted and did or didn’t give in to that bad habit helps.
- Make it impossible to fall back into old habits. If you’re a junk food junkie who wants to change that, don’t keep any snack foods in the house that aren’t healthy. Be prepared with healthy snacks like cubed melon or bowls of fruit in the refrigerator.
- Keep a reminder in front of you. It helps to use Post-It notes with your new replacement habit on it. Make it more upbeat than denigrating. You can do it! Exercise at 4:00. Eat healthy! Are some of those.
- If overeating is a bad habit, try mindful eating. Savor every bite and chew each bite thoroughly before you take the next bite. Make sure you put your utensil down between each bite and never eat on the run. Always sit at a table.