Ultimately it comes down to behavior — on your ability to align your actions with your intentions.
You’ve heard the expression: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Or “We come in like Spartans and we leave like Philistines.”
Aligning your actions with your intentions isn’t easy.
We’ve all set New Year’s Resolutions to abandon them weeks later. Gyms and Fitness Clubs enjoy their highest level of signups just previous to, and after, New Year. How many of those people actually stick with it?
Gold’s Gym has identified February 18th as the “fitness cliff.” They’ve noticed that as more time separates people from the healthy resolutions they made as the New Year’s ball was dropping, their motivation starts to fade. So, many people don’t last a month before they give up!
But it’s still possible to modify your behavior. Again, everything begins with setting an intention, and more importantly, keeping your intention in front of you, visualizing your intention, really desiring your intention.
Even then you want to stack the odds in your favor. How do you do this?
You should check out a blog post I wrote some time ago called: “How To Manage Change To Get The Results You Seek.”
Too often people try to do everything all at once, and then their disappointed because they “failed”. Well of course they failed. Because they didn’t do it right. It’s much better to incrementally change your behavior.
First, choose one behavior you’d like to change. For example: “I’m going to walk more” , or “I’m going to buy healthier food.” Then try to figure out why you’re not doing that one thing. If you can identify what’s holding you back, you’re much more likely to achieve a “breakthrough” and achieve your objective. Maybe “there’s not enough time in the day.” Or “I don’t really know how to read the labels”. Well let’s figure out how to make more time. Maybe you wake up 30 minutes earlier. Or you do some research on how to read labels.
These five steps will help you gradually follow a healthier lifestyle:
1. Get a buddy or join a community who’s equally dedicated to subscribing to a more wholesome way of life.
2. Implement gradual changes. The less drastic the shift, the easier it is for you and your buddy to follow. For instance, if you want to follow a healthier diet, then start by infusing one healthy meal a day, and slowly work your way up until the rest of your days feature healthy meals. For your exercise regimen, opt to start gradually by taking short walks first, and then eventually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts.
3. Get a healthy cookbook, one that features ingredients and dishes that you are already familiar with and like. Also, obtain the right nutritional supplements to support this lifestyle shift that you want to follow.
4. Reward yourself. For instance, you can allow yourself to indulge in your favorite food for every milestone that you achieve. Just don’t forget about eating your reward food in small portions so that you don’t end up ruining your diet.
5. Create cues and reminders. Set up mechanisms that constantly remind you of your goal. For instance, write reminders about your goals for the day on notes posted on your fridge. Set up an agreement with your buddy as well that he or she remind you should you stray from your goal.