How to create healthy lifestyle habits
Fitness, health, and wellness. While these terms are universal, they are also very personal. When you're in your early twenties, you might be more focused on having a bikini body and starting your career. Subsequently, as you get older, your goals may shift further and include getting married, advancing in your career, and becoming a parent. As your responsibilities and values shift, so do the things you want for yourself. Reflecting on your life, your fitness, health, and wellness goals have most likely changed over time.
Keeping all of this in mind, it might be startling to think that people typically look at fitness as something black and white. While fitness can be very standard when it comes to doing exercises and measuring results, the type of approach and routine you take can and should vary significantly based on your specific goals and background.
How do you identify what you want and need when it comes to fitness? How do you go about developing a plan? Here are four tips that can help you:
1. Build a foundation for success
Before identifying your “ideals,” you should identify your surroundings and use (and adjust) them to build a foundation for long term success. If you have a highly stressful job with long hours, your workouts will need to be structured around this schedule to help manage your stress levels and boost your energy. Many are afraid to adjust a schedule to fit their needs. Instead, they copy the workout regimens of friends, coworkers, and family members rather than figuring out what will position them for longterm success.
You should evaluate your goals and needs. Who are you? Are you a busy mom? On a huge career path? In graduate school? Most people are busy. Making a schedule of training around your life is crucial to getting it done, and getting the most benefit without added stress. The key is to develop a program and workout schedule that will be a part of your life.
2. Don't overreach
In order to be happy, healthy, and successful, you should never overreach. It’s essential to be practical and honest instead. If you want to become healthier, stronger, faster, and less stressed but are dealing with bad habits and time constraints, don’t commit to a workout regimen that’s seven days a week. Why? Because you’ll be setting yourself up to fail. The primary goal should be to work out twice a week for four weeks. Until you can maintain a standard level of workouts, you should not be overloading your schedule. Once you are able to maintain working out twice a week, you can add another day.
The same should apply when it comes to sleep, nutrition, work, and family life. Overreaching your nutrition goals can leave you feeling frustrated, hangry, and on a fast track to a complete relapse. The goal is to find a way to make every shift and change towards healthy habits adaptable and practical. Take the same approach as you do with your workouts and change one meal only for five out of seven days. If that works well, change another meal.
3. Identify the important stuff
I spent a good part of my life checking off things on my list. After a decade of doing that, I looked back and wondered why I never celebrated accomplishments and milestones. The truth? Only a handful of them actually made an impact on my life. I realized that I spent my twenties overloading myself with work, goals, and projects, some of which were actually not that important to me.
To identify the important stuff in your life, ask yourself: what’s really important? Then reflect on what’s preventing you from getting to that important stuff. You’ll want to first get rid of all the stuff that doesn’t really matter and then move to your initial goal. This approach can apply to fitness, health, family, work, food — whatever! Prioritize whatever feeds your soul.
4. Know that no goal is too silly or insignificant
Goals differ, and every goal you set for yourself is valid. Aesthetic goals are fine as are performance, health, and fitness goals. When developing a goal, you should be honest with yourself. Ask yourself: what matters most to me? You might want to lose or gain weight, reclaim your energy levels, get healthy, redesign your social life, learn how to play tennis, and/or become stronger. Whatever it is, identify what you’d like to work on first by engaging in some self-exploration.
Dasha L. Anderson is a celebrity trainer and fitness expert in New York City, with a master's degree in exercise science and sports nutrition and a specialty in performance enhancement and injury prevention. She is also the founder and head certifying instructor of Kettlebell Kickboxing and has contributed to Self, Shape, Fitness Rx, and Epoch Times.