A new year is around the corner, which means talk of resolutions and how you plan on keeping them begins. Personally, I’m not a fan of new year’s resolutions for two reasons. One, I don’t see the point in putting off a goal that’s important to you to a later date. Second, most resolutions are usually vague and poorly thought out. This unfortunately often leads to failure, guilt, and feeling generally crappy about yourself. I don’t want that for you, I want you to win!
This year I want you to try something different, this year I’m asking you to set habits, not resolutions. Habits are what you’re going to need if you want to be successful anyways, they help you put the important stuff on autopilot, giving your more freedom in other aspects of your life.
Now it obviously doesn’t help to set random habits, they need to have clarity. Ask yourself, why this habit? What about this habit is going to make my life better and/or easier? Then let the brainstorming begin!
I recommend coming up with 12 habits, one for each month of the year. They won’t always be easy to stick to, so you don’t want to implement more than one at a time, for not breaking the habit is more important than the habit itself. Following the habit for a month will give it some time to stick and also allow you to see some of the benefits of following it, although I do believe it takes more than a month to truly experience all the benefits.
When you’re determining the order of your habits, I recommend you start with habits that are either easy to follow and/or have a ripple effect improving numerous aspects of your life. You want habits that will allow you to see early success, this will motivate you to continue your path to a better you.
Here’s an example of what your plan may look like:
January: Read for an hour before bed. - This accomplishes a number of things, it gets you away from screens at night which improves sleep and depending on what you’re reading increases your knowledge and/or helps you to relax. I often set aside up to 2 hours of reading before bed, an hour for work and an hour just for me.
February: Workout every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6AM. - This is obviously a bit more aggressive than the previous month’s habit, but it’s an important one. Note the specific times you plan to workout and follow them religiously, if you’re workout times are all over the place the habit won’t stick. Be sure to have a plan before heading to the gym, randomly jumping on whatever piece of equipment is available or spending an hour on the treadmill isn’t a plan. If you don’t know how to write a proper workout program, hire a professional to help.
March: Change your workouts every 3-4 weeks. - If you’ve hired a professional to write your workouts this should already be taken care of. If not, be sure to change up your routine, this will help to keep you from getting bored and most importantly provide a new stimulus for your body to adapt.
April: Make your bed first thing in the morning. - This one is super easy, but it starts the day with a small win.
May: Leave for work and appointments 10 minutes earlier than you normally do. - The goal here is less stress. If you’re one of those people who’s always trying to do “one more thing” before leaving the house, stop. Sitting in traffic worried you’re going to be late for something just isn’t worth it.
June: Food prep every Sunday at 6pm. - Again, notice the specific time you’ve planned for the habit to occur. This is a great way to make the rest of your week easier and healthier. It’s also a great way to save money by eating out less.
July: Meditate daily for 10 minutes when you first wake up. - Meditation is awesome, if you haven’t tried it, I recommend you do. It takes time to really get the hang of it, but once you do 10 minutes seems to fly by in an instant. You’ll find yourself practicing your breathing the next time pissed off and stuck in traffic.
August: Track your food intake. - We manage what we monitor. Often times you are eating less or more than you realize, both of which could be bad. Increase awareness by monitoring your food intake for a month.
September: No eating in front of screens (phones, tablets, TVs, computers, etc.). - Increase mindfulness when you eat, it’s easy to overeat when you’re zoning out staring at a screen. Instead eat with a friend, family member, or co-worker.
October: Sleep at least 8 hours/night. - This one is huge! Hopefully reading before bed has fixed this already, but if it hasn’t, focus on it for the next month and watch your whole world change. I can’t stress enough how important sleep is to your overall health and well-being.
November: Drink coffee only on workout days and prior to the workout. - This may actually motivate you to get to the gym more often! I myself love coffee but find it’s important to take breaks from it occasionally. First to maintain its effectiveness at providing a jolt of energy when I need it, and second because coffee elevates stress hormones and I find it’s important for people to have “low stress” days. You can’t always be burning the midnight oil, sometimes you need to focus on adding some oil back in the lamp.
December: Start a gratitude journal that you write in every morning/night. - This really helps to keep you in a positive mindset and appreciating what you already have.
This is just an example, you can use this if you’d like, but I recommend you sit down and put some thought into what habits you’d like to adopt or at the very least try out. They don’t have to be big changes, even the smallest of habits can have quite the effect. You may not keep every habit and that’s ok, you’re trying to find the habits that work for you and make your life a bit more fulfilling.
Head over to my Facebook page Ellis Elite Fitness and let me know what habits you’ll be working on in 2019!
Good luck to a new and improved you in the New Year!