Change Bad Habits
Change Bad Habits
If you want to get fit for summer, you have to take some steps to change your bad habits. You’ll need to look at areas of your life involving your exercise regimen, dietary habits and your mindset. All three of these work together to help you make the changes that need to occur so you can meet your goals.
Be Honest About What Needs to Change
One of the reasons that people don’t get fit in time for summer is because they’re not honest about what needs to happen. You can get stuck in what feels familiar to you or what’s easiest.
It’s easier to just grab whatever you want to eat and consume it without worrying about calories, carbs, or portion sizes. But to lose weight and get fit, it requires nutritional effort.
You can’t eat the same way you’ve always eaten and expect to see the results that you want. You have to be honest about all of your bad nutrition habits. While you might not count your late night snacking in front of the television, those calories are adding up.
You might not consider that skipping breakfast and then overcompensating at lunch as that big of a deal, but it is - because skipping meals messes with your metabolism. So take a hard look at what you’re eating.
You also want to examine when you’re eating and how much of it you’re eating. It’s easy to become blind to portion sizes. You might think that what you put on your plate is a serving size, but if you measure it out, it’s actually three or more.
That’s where those extra calories and the struggle to lose weight can come from. In addition to taking a look at your nutrition habits, you’ll also need to take inventory of your exercise habits.
You might be someone who doesn’t exercise. If you want to get fit in time for summer, that will have to change. One of the reasons that some people don’t exercise is because the word is associated with an activity most people dread.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Exercise can be something that you actually look forward to. If you don’t exercise, you need to start. If you do, but you find that you’re not losing weight or getting in shape, then you need to reexamine what your workouts are like.
It’s likely that it’s past time for you to up your game. Summer fitness involves eating right and making sure you exercise - but it also involves mindset habits. Your mindset, your attitudes and beliefs toward fitness, is what can help you overcome all excuses and obstacles that stand in the way of you reaching your fitness goals.
When you unleash the power of a strong mindset, you can change any habit. The right mindset can keep your attention focused on the positive - on the things you achieved in your summer fitness plan rather than the things you didn’t.
Use your mindset to change how you view mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up when you fall short, but praise or reward yourself when you reach milestones. The right mindset can help you break the cycle that keeps you stuck and allows you to change your internal focus to can-do instead of can’t.
Brainstorm What You'll Be Replacing Bad Habits With
Most people don’t need to be told what their bad habits are. They already know. They don’t have a problem recognizing what they need to stop doing, but what they need is to know what to do instead.
If you have a new habit in place, you won’t return to your old ways. It might surprise you to learn that if you have a bad habit in the area of nutrition, exercise or mindset, that habit began because you needed it on some level.
For example, if you have the habit of grabbing something to eat when you feel stressed, it’s likely that you do that because the familiarity of eating soothed your anxiety over a situation or day.
You needed comforting and you felt better once you ate something like junk or comfort food. It relieved the stress. The food itself wasn’t what actually made you feel better. It was the self-soothing process.
You probably already know that soothing emotions with food will sabotage your efforts to have that summer beach body you want. No matter how many times you’ve tried to just quit, you always go back to eating what you shouldn’t in amounts that you shouldn’t.
The reason you can’t quit is because you still need that comfort. The bad habit has to be replaced with a good one that offers you the same need fulfillment you got from the bad habit.
When you do that, you’ll be able to successfully leave your bad habits behind. You can’t wait until you’re faced with something that might trigger a bad habit - such as stress eating.
A strategy should be in place for whatever action you’ll take when you’re faced with the temptation to give in to a bad habit. If sitting on the sofa watching TV at night triggers your desire to turn to junk food, then combine the activities of watching TV with exercising.
Ride a stationary bike while you watch your show. It’s often not even the food that you want, but rather the familiarity of the routine because it helps you to destress and wind down from the day.
When eating in front of the TV or endless snacking is what continually trips you up, brush your teeth. If you start brushing your teeth every time you feel the urge to eat something you shouldn’t or even just to eat beyond your calorie limit, you’ll lose the desire to eat.
There’s something about having a clean mouth that cures the munchies. If you need something crunchy and that’s what triggers you, choose crunchy vegetables or fruits instead of chips or crackers.
Change the bad habit of berating yourself when you slip up nutritionally or when you skip exercise. Instead of doing that, accept what occurred and plan to start fresh from that moment on.
Don’t bring yesterday’s mistakes into today. Let your mindset be that each second can be a fresh start if you need it to be. Stop the excuses. Let go of the bad habit of saying or believing that you’re too busy, too tired, or just got home and don’t want to go back out to exercise by building it into your day if you need to.
Visit the exercise room at work or stop at the gym after leaving your job. Instead of excuses, look for reasons why you can do what you need to do. For example, if you get fit, you’ll be in better health and be there for your family.
The Strategy of Picking One Bad Habit to Replace at a Time
A summer beach body isn’t going to happen without you deciding that it’s time to change. Getting rid of bad habits is key to your success. But there are different ways that you can let go of your bad habits.
You can start simple by replacing one bad habit at a time. There are pros and cons to using this method. If you start slow and focus only on one habit at a time, it helps you to keep your focus where it should be - on the one issue that might be hindering your success.
For example, if you have a bad habit of drinking too much soda, which adds too many calories and no nutritional value to your eating plan, going cold turkey might not be best for you - especially if you’re a long time soda drinker.
So what you would need to do is to replace one of your daily sodas with water. Taking this small step won’t seem like such a big deal. When you try to change every single bad habit you have at once, it can seem overwhelming.
If you’re someone who doesn’t handle big changes well, then taking it slow is the right course for you. Another benefit to this kind of strategy is that it can eliminate you going through withdrawal from giving up unhealthy foods or other habits that are detrimental to your fitness goals.
When you make slow, small changes, your body has time to adjust as you go through the process. You’re not hit with the shock of change. People who do this tend to have a high level of fitness success because it builds momentum.
Each habit you successfully change makes it feel easier to tackle the next one. Of course, there are drawbacks with choosing this strategy. If you’re in a hurry to make that beach body you want a reality, then replacing one bad habit at a time isn’t going to get you where you want to be quickly.
It’s slow going when your attention is directed at one bad habit at a time. So you might end up feeling frustrated. You might also have a harder time keeping your motivation level up.
Sometimes, when you make slow changes to bad habits, it can be easier to feel like it’s okay to slip up every now and then. You might find yourself giving your own seal of approval to blowing your good eating habit because of your mindset.
Slow changes can give you the mindset that it’s such a little change, so what’s the big deal? This happens because small changes don’t always make you see that these add up to the bigger goal.
Because they make the end goal seem further away, some people will relax their guard too much and too often. Backsliding on their goals is common when you have a slower process. Plus, it can make it tempting to see the fitness goal deadline and want to try a quick fix such as a weight loss fad.
How to Overhaul Your Life Habits All at Once
You might not be a fan of making small changes over a longer period of time. You might prefer to just get hit with everything all at once. If you prefer a more radical approach over making small changes, you can certainly do that.
But it will take determination, motivation and changing your environment to create a lifestyle that supports your sudden change. To prepare for an overhaul, you need to have a plan in place. By planning, you can make sure you achieve success with all of the changes.
You have to plan the time within this overhaul for your summer body. If you know that you have a problem finding the time to eat right or exercise, then you build your time in to do these things before you even set the first step in motion.
Go to your calendar and block off fitness time. It doesn’t matter if it’s all one block of time or if you have to break it up throughout your day to get it done. Make a fitness appointment with yourself and keep it just as you would the doctor or dentist appointment.
Everyone has trigger activities or foods that can make them slip up. If you want to eat healthy, but you know you’re tempted by unhealthy foods, then they need to go. Examine your pantry and your refrigerator and remove the foods that tempt you.
Sometimes people put these foods on a top shelf or hide them in the back of the refrigerator. But that falls under the category of “might come back to later,” which can derail your success.
If you’re hesitant to waste money by throwing food out, you can either give it to someone else or you can remember that it’s better to waste food than your health. Find a lifeline.
This is someone you’ll answer to on a regular basis about your fitness plan. It could be an exercise buddy or weight loss partner. By having someone you’re accountable to, when the sudden shock of change wears off and you find yourself tempted, another person can help you remember why you’ve taken such a drastic step.
Be choosy with your exercise. Just because someone says it’s what should be done to get fit doesn’t mean it’s right for you. If you hate whatever exercise routine it is, then forcing yourself to do it isn’t going to make you any happier.
When you make a sudden overhaul, you can’t just ease into exercise. You start, you hit it hard, and you don’t look back. One thing that can help you go full speed ahead with exercise is to pay in advance for any training classes or gym visits.
People are less likely to blow off a workout or meeting with a trainer if they’ve already paid. Understand ahead of time that overhauling your fitness life is going to be met with challenges from others.
This might be from well-meaning, people who sabotage you. Know ahead of time what you’re going to say to those who tell you “one meal isn’t going to break your diet” or to those who want you to blow off working out to hang out with them.
When you know there’s going to be a situation filled with tempting treats such as an office party, someone’s birthday or a special event, eat something before you attend. You’ll be too full to fill up a plate.
Conducting Periodic Upkeep of Your Habits
A habit is a sneaky thing. Once you’ve mastered a bad one and established a good one consistently, it can be easy to let your guard down. You might think that you’ve arrived and that you’ve put in too much effort to let yourself slip up now.
But it happens and sometimes, you can slip back into a bad habit and not even realize that it’s what you’ve done. That’s because you can have habits that you do on autopilot - especially ones you’ve been doing for years.
You might examine your lifestyle and find that you used to measure all your food but now you’re sort of estimating. This is a good way to add a lot of extra calories over the course of a week.
Over the course of your summer fitness plan, you might have thought that a certain way of eating was a good fit for you, but you’re discovering that it’s not. It could be that the food doesn’t keep you satisfied and you’re always hungry or maybe you find that you’ve developed meal boredom.
You can always reexamine your plan to see what you can tweak. Changing your food plan is one of these. If your eating habits are causing you to waffle back and forth, find one that you enjoy more.
Analyze your workouts. If you haven’t made progress such as building muscle or losing inches, then it could be that the routine either doesn’t work for your body type or it’s time to step up the routine.
Check your fat amount. If you haven’t lost the amount of fat you want to, then you’ll want to see if you’re eating enough protein and if your exercise habits are good enough.
Take your body measurements to make sure that you’re still losing inches.
While your weight might fluctuate, depending on the time of day and what you ate, your inches lost should not go back up. Have a schedule in place to periodically update your habits.
This schedule should be done a third of the way into your fitness plan, and again at the halfway mark. Once you’ve reached your goals and have the summer body you want, you should still check in with your habits to make sure you’re not slipping back into ones that will cause you to lose what you’ve achieved.
Eliminating bad habits is hard enough. Make sure you have positive ones to put in place whenever you’re working on big changes in your life. These habits should be lifelong changes, not temporary ones that can make the process harder on you.