When it comes to health, habits will get you there. Habits lead to a lifestyle. If you are forming unhealthy habits they will lead you down an unhealthy path. If you are building healthy habits, they will become a part of your everyday routine. There are some great things you can decide for yourself today in order to begin your path of healthy daily living. If this is something you would like to see happen in your life then you will need to decide in advance, commit, and follow through.
Decide IN ADVANCE! If you asked me if I felt like being active right now, I would say no. Therefore, if I were given the choice to go to the gym right now or stay on my couch, I would decide the latter. If you want to make fitness a part of your life, you have to decide in advance. DO THIS NOW! Look at your weekly schedule. See what days and times work best for you and then add it to your planner or calendar. By making this a solid appointment in your calendar, you have made your first important step in forming a habit that benefits you. It works the same with healthy food intake, as well. If you were to sit down, make a meal plan, and purchase groceries to carry out those meals, you would be much less likely to decide to hit the drive thru on the way home (or in my case, make another bowl of spicy ramen). You already have a delicious and veggie filled meal waiting for you at home!
Commit- you are worth the commitment. Do not put those fitness dates in your calendar thinking, “I will try to make it on these days”. NO! Say, “I will be there”. This is not a time for negotiating. Commit to your meal plan. Commit to changing your life for the better.
Finally, follow through. DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! This is honestly the hardest step of all. You will be forced to do battle with yourself daily when you begin to talk yourself out of the plan. You have already made the decision. Do not go back to the beginning. All that is required of you now is to show up.
Some other helpful hints:
Do things to help you stay on track. Pack workout clothes before you go to school. Put a fitness bag in your car or locker at school and leave it there. If you go home first, chances are you will not find yourself back at the gym or practice, or on that peaceful run at the park. Instead you will find a distraction and regret.
Chop your vegetables after you return from the store and put them in Tupperware. This habit has helped me tremendously, because it makes everything easy to grab and eat. When we are tired after school or work, or when we just mindlessly find ourselves in the kitchen looking for a snack, it is much easier to pick veggies over chips if they are ready to eat.
Make fitness fun! Invite a friend to begin this journey with you. Make gym dates together and keep each other on track. If you and your friend do not have compatible schedules, join a league that you find interesting. Make new friends on your local Y’s volleyball team. Try that fitness class you have been curious about. Start a group exercise challenge at school or work. See which team can log the most hours per week.
Remember, your first step is to DECIDE. Do it right now!