It’s the New Year! Maybe you’re considering making some changes regarding fitness, nutrition, etc. which is awesome! However, it’s important not to get caught up in all the fad diets and crazy workouts that are probably flooding your social media. Often times, people who sell you on “30 day workouts” or crazy fast fat loss diets are just trying to make money, and the plans are often so intense that they can’t be upheld in the grand scheme of things. Also, what happens when the “30 days” end? Do you go back to your old habits? Do you feel obligated to continue eating and working out in the same way forever? Rather than trying these “band-aid” fixes, addressing small habit-changes one at a time can make things much easier to sustain in the long term.
Let’s take our nutrition for an example and think of it on a dial from 1-10. 1 would be very manageable changes we could make without really having to put a ton of effort in, like adding one more serving of fruit or vegetable each day. On the other end of the dial, a 10 would be extremely challenging changes, like growing all of your own organic food and never eating out. Now, the higher end of the dial will likely bring out more drastic changes in a shorter period of time, but these changes are also not as easy to make and sustain. It’s important to really think about what your goals are, and where on the dial you want to work towards. The next step will be to assess where you currently are on the dial. Do you eat mostly processed food? Are you eating protein with every meal? Assessing where you are on the dial gives you a great foundation off which you can start to make changes.
Once you’ve determined where on the dial you are, it’s important to make changes one level at a time. Jumping from a three to a nine might seem okay for a week or two, but that big of a transition would be nearly impossible to sustain permanently. Focus on the big rocks first- which changes will get the most bang for you buck, while also being sustainable and enjoyable. Once you have maintained this new habit for a few weeks and feel strong and comfortable about it, then it might be a good time to try to shift up the dial a little higher if you feel you want to. (You might make a change and just want to stay at level for a while, and that’s great too!) The main point I want to make is that if your goal is to continue to shift the dial up, move up one level at a time, and feel free to stop turning when you are happy with the level you’re at!
It’s also important to take into account what your other dials look like. For example, if you’re trying to have your fitness and nutrition dials at 10s, it will likely be very challenging to also keep your social life dial on high as well. There’s a saying among college students “Sleep, Grades, Social Life- Choose two.” The point being that it’s really challenge to have all these things at once (now there’s a million arguments I could make to counter this, but just go with it for example purposes). Remember that with everything, managing your dials is a game of give and take, so it’s important to really look at where your priorities are at the moment, and know that you might have to shift some dials down if you want or need to turn other dials up.
The last point I want to make is to not be afraid to make adjustments to your dials. Maybe one day you’re on the road all day and won’t have time to prep the meals you want to. Or maybe your kids are sick and you simply wont be able to make it into the gym. Know that it’s okay to shift the dial down when you need to, and it’s always there to be turned back up when you’re ready.