You may have heard the old saying that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Motivational speakers, teachers, and clergy have adopted the phenomenon to help their charges kick old habits and develop new, more positive ones. 21 days isn’t a sure-fire reality for every lifestyle change, but it’s worth a shot and is always a great start. Just think about that… 3 weeks could be the only thing standing between you and a new fitness routine and healthy eating plan. Here are six steps to help you start your 21-day journey.
Step 1: Out with the bad
It’s just as important to kick your bad habits as it is to adopt new, better ones. For instance, exercising with a whole body workout every day probably won’t give you the results you’re hoping for if you’re still indulging in chips and dip every night. So take a little time to identify the bad habits you need to kick. Be realistic and don’t try to do everything at once.
Step 2: In with the good
When you imagine yourself as a happy, healthy, active person, what habits will you have? Will you make time in your busy schedule to get in your circuit training routine three to four times per week? Perhaps you’ll start taping all your TV shows and watching them later to give you more time for a full body workout or to cook salmon with vegetables in the evenings. Whatever the habits are that you want to develop, make sure they are specific and reasonable.
Step 3: Develop your healthy eating and workout plans
It might not be enough to just make a resolution to start working out at Curves three to four times a week. There are probably specific things that need to change to make that happen. For instance, will you need to pack your gym clothes the night before? Will you need to switch your carpool days with someone else? How will you fit a healthy diet into your busy life? Think about all the little things that might impact your ability to form new habits and make sure they’re all part of your eating and exercise.
Step 4: Get rid of barriers
Before implementing your 21-day action plan, get rid of any barriers you identified in Step 3 that might interfere with your success. These could include physical or mental roadblocks—or both. Make sure your path is clear to succeed and there are no easy excuses in sight.
Step 5: Implement your plan
You’ve developed your workout and healthy diet, you’ve problem-solved known barriers to success, and now it’s time to get started. Be firm in your resolve – the first few days will be the most difficult. Remember to start slowly. It’s important to ease into the first few weeks to let your body adjust. When you do decide to increase your intensity, do so at a reasonable pace. And as you get closer to your 21-day mark, you’ll find that things will start getting easier. It won’t be long before you’re actually looking forward to your whole body workout at Curves!
Step 6: Reward yourself
Don’t hesitate to pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Buy yourself that new sweater you’ve been wanting or get tickets to that concert – you deserve it!