Life comes down to choices and habits. For the most part you can take a look at a how a person spends their time to see what is important to them. In health and fitness, you can see it in how people prioritize their daily habits. If someone wants to have a lean appearance, you will see them making daily efforts towards that goal; cooking their own food, eating plenty of protein, vegetables for their carbs, and consuming good fat. They are prepared for success because they do the little things daily. However, if they SAY they want to get lean, but are NOT prepared, eat fast food daily, skip the gym for happy hour, well then you can say they are making an investment in the opposite of what they SAY they want.
Change is hard. It takes planning. It takes effort. Most people fear change because making big sweeping changes is scary, overwhelming, different, out of their comfort zone and sets up for possible failure. Very few people can just straight make a decisive change and go forward to success on their own. However, consider the potential success they might achieve by breaking it up into little daily successes. This absolutely increases the odds of success!
Set Goals for Good Habits
Setting goals for behavioral habits will help push change. Most people will set an “end-state” goal, something like I want to lose 15 lbs, or I want to fit into my high school jeans. Those are great goals but they are the “what”… not the “how”. These goals are outcome based. Set goals for the behaviors that will lead to the desired outcome.
There are several really good and basic behavior goals that can help you along the way. There are things we know that help. Being prepared, eating the right amounts of protein, carbs, and fats and eating to satiety instead of past it. You can turn these things into goals:
These are just a few of the behavior type goals that will lead you to the outcome that you desire.
Small Changes Lead to Big Changes
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
Concentrate on getting 1% better every day. Make small manageable changes that will lead to the big change you desire. One small change is easier than one giant change.
Instead of trying to make a wholesale change to the way that you attack something, make small changes daily. Let’s say that you KNOW that it is a great idea to get most of your carbohydrates from vegetables, and you know that most of your plate should have vegetables on it, then it can be a big change to eat all of those vegetables. It could be likely that you are eating other carbs, such as pastas, starches, etc., so Do this for each meal.
The next day make it a little bigger. The day after that a little bigger. Just 1 % bigger every day, and the next thing you know you will have a plate full of vegetables that you like.
After a week or so, add in a small serving of a different colored vegetable. Each day after that add 1% more each day until you have 2 same size servings of vegetables.
Plans are like a map. If you work the plan you can get to your destination just like following a map. Set aside a little time on a weekend to help you plan your week. After all you cannot say “This week I will eat a vegetable at every meal” , if you don’t go to the store and actually buy vegetables to have with your meals.
You can use this time to put together a grocery list, plan meals, research restaurant menus to plan for healthier choices, meal prep, etc. A little time spent in advance makes for a smoother week of eating better and helps you get closer to your goal.
If planning is struggle for you, this might be a perfect starter behavioral goal. This week I will set aside 15 minutes for myself!
Making these changes little by little and just trying to be a little better every day works just like compound interest. Before you know it you will be eating healthy nutrient dense foods in the proper amounts. These changes will pay big dividends in your performance, body composition and health accounts, just like compound interest!