Did you know that a whopping 50% of all new gym members quit going within six months of signing up (IHRSA)?! Whether it’s a January “fresh start,” a deal that can’t be passed up, or a doctor’s referral that gets you in the door, the way is paved with good intentions about becoming more conscientious about your health and wellness.
But then what happens?
Why is it so hard to change our behavior?
Why do we fall off the wagon?
Dr. Dan Ritchie, President of FAI (Functional Aging Institute) says, “We need to make fitness more about how it impacts our everyday life, or as we say, our functional ability. If it is helping you do the things you enjoy with greater ease and greater enjoyment, then your fitness program is serving your lifestyle. It really should be designed to help you live a better, fuller life and enjoy all the things you enjoy doing.”
Changing behavior can make us scared, anxious, and feel like we are being deprived of the things we love. We typically stop the “new thing” before there has been enough time for us to FEEL different about it. That could mean you stop going to the gym before you start feeling better, you stop eating a salad for lunch every day before you start craving it, or even that you stop abstaining from alcohol before your brain has had time to adjust to it not being around!
That’s why it’s crucial to create a solid game plan.
First, think of a behavior you’d like to change. Keep it simple and easy to identify. Next, write down your REASONS for changing this behavior. Then, pump yourself up with positive affirmations and pep talk yourself in the mirror. Tell your family and support circle about your goals and get those vibes out there. It’s time. Forecast the outcome of this behavior change and remember… this is such a good thing. Your forecast should be written in a positive way! Finally, remember to be patient with yourself. Some things take longer to change than others, and that’s totally okay. Small, progressive steps lead to great change!
Erin La Grassa/Entrepreneur & CEO of Money Matters, shares her strategy: “In order to create real change you must gain clarity and it must be simple.” Here is how:
- Define a measurable outcome. (I weigh 128 pounds.) It must be measurable; what isn’t measured can’t be managed or changed.
- Define how it makes you FEEL when you HAVE this outcome. (I feel confident when I weigh 128 pounds.) What critical actions must you take in order to obtain this outcome? (Move and nourish my body every day.)
- Create an incantation using WHEN and HAVE. (I feel confident when I weigh 128 pounds because I have movement and nourishment in my body every day.)
- Affirmations often pre-suppose you are in lack of something, whereas incantations pre-suppose you already have it.
Stephanie Kreun, Holistic Nutritionist Consultant, tells us, “Remember to always celebrate the progress and not to expect perfection. Expecting perfection can rob you from the joy of your progress. Change your expectations into appreciation for the healthy life you are creating. Visualize yourself like you have already achieved your goals, that you are currently living that life and celebrate the changes as they happen.”
Janice Jaicks has been a fitness professional since 1985. She is the owner and founder of FitnessFest Conference and Expo, Desert Swim School, and FEST (Fitness Event Strategy Team) is launching a online certification program, and also has a new Fitness Podcast series. Janice is a continuing education provider for ACE, AFAA, and AEA. She has gained valuable experience as a national presenter with IDEA, SCW, IAFC, Body Revival and her own FitnessFest and AquaCon conferences.