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New Year, New Healthy Habits!

Posted on January 13, 2021 by Iliana Stoilova

Happy New Year, everyone! We made it through 2020! Now, let’s see about getting rid of some of those pandemic pounds and building good habits to be more active this year. Here are some you may want to consider:

Move your body more throughout the day. Sitting has been called the new smoking. If you think about it, over half of your day is probably spent driving, working behind a desk or looking at a video screen. People with this kind of sedentary behavior use far less energy and may burn up to 1,000 fewer calories per day. One study even found that men who spent more time sitting gained more weight around their midsection. Minimizing sedentary time can be just as important for your health as your diet and regular exercise.

Moving causes your muscles to release molecules that process the fats and sugars you eat. So, aim to do one active thing every day. Get up and stretch every 30 minutes or so at work. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk around during commercials. Take a long walk after work.  

Eat more whole foods. This means eating foods that are as close to their natural form as possible, such as eating fruits and vegetables. Or eating a grilled chicken breast instead of a chicken nugget. (What is a chicken nugget anyway?) Or eating a baked potato with a dollop of sour cream and green onions instead of a bag of sour cream and onion potato chips. You get the idea. Whole foods retain their fiber and nutrients that are often removed in processed foods.

Take up meditation. According to Psychology Today, meditation may help you succeed in your other resolutions because it helps you boost focus. It’s also a great way to reduce stress. Some even call it a workout for your brain, helping to improve your memory and “cognitive flexibility” or your ability to switch gears. Maybe that’s why some professional athletes have added mediation to their training routine. If you want help getting started, there are apps available that can provide guidance and calm your mind.

Find an accountability buddy. We tend to take on the characteristics of the people we spend the most time with. Having a buddy who’s committed to your good health will help motivate you to show up for workouts. You’ll also have someone to walk with, share tips and – best of all – celebrate your wins.

Create a routine for yourself. Once you taste how good it feels to be in control of your life and time, you won’t want to go back. Map out everything you want to accomplish with work, home life and fitness, including the tasks you need to tackle daily and weekly – from meal planning and cleaning to meetings. Then schedule time for them in a planner or calendar or bullet journal. Make sure you use one that incorporates everything and not a separate one for work. Actually writing it down and scheduling time for everything will encourage you to see where your day is going, where it gets off-track, and help you stick to a routine. It also frees your mind from unnecessary decision-making.  Believe me, it’s easy to get off track by life stuff. However, there are many times when we use life stuff as excuses to stray from what we had planned. 

Now, turn those new behaviors into a habit!

We tell ourselves we’re going to follow through and this year will be different, but then human nature steps in. Despite our best intentions, we slip up. 

Beyond making a promise to yourself, you want to turn these goals into a habit. Just like training your muscles, training the mind takes time, energy and a bit of patience. The secret is staying motivated. Habits form when we repeat an action consistently and the mind starts to associate it with a routine. Here are a few tips to help get you to that point:

  1. Set goals and invite others to help cheer you on. You need encouragement and support.
  2. Now, break up your goal into small steps. Create boxes you can check off quickly. Breezing through the easy stuff will propel you forward towards your goal and give you confidence to continue.
  3. Understand why you held onto past behaviors. Was there a pleasurable payoff? Adopting a new habit needs to look more attractive to you than the enjoyable aspects of the old behavior you’re replacing. For example, sometimes smokers find they enjoyed the sociability and extra break time they got when they went outside to have a smoke. Maybe you can still enjoy taking a break but finding a healthier way to do it. 
  4. Hold yourself accountable. If you make a commitment and a promise to other people, you’re less likely to want to let them down.
  5. Reward yourself along the way. Don’t wait until you lose 25 pounds to celebrate. Make the process satisfying and fun. 
  6. Let X-Force Body help you conquer your resolutions! We can help you achieve your goals, support you and show you that they’re doable. You’ll even receive a personal coach to maximize your results. Come see what it’s like. Come in and meet the coaches today! (link to https://www.xforcebody.com/experience/ )

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