New Year: How to Develop Small New Habits That Support Your Fitness Goals
There’s no doubt that 2020 has been a year packed with many challenges for all of us. The COVID-19 pandemic has also caused major health concerns and often-uncomfortable changes in the way we live, work, attend school and socialize, that is, if we are socializing at all. On top of COVID concerns, the reports that feelings of frustration, fear and anger in America are on the rise as we struggle through uncertain times.
Diet change, weight loss, healthier lifestyle, no fast-food, less sugar, etc, are amongst the most common New Year’s resolutions every year. According to a survey by Inc Magazine, those items are present in 71% of new year’s resolutions lists across the U.S. According to the same survey, “about 60 percent of us admit that we make New Year's resolutions but only about 8 percent of us are successful in achieving them.”
If like many others, you already started to plan what your New Year’s Resolutions will be, here’s a blog on how you can create tiny new habits that will support your goals of paying closer attention to your nutrition and health this year.
A habit is a small decision you make and action you take every day. According to Duke University researchers, about 40% of our daily actions are due to the habits we have developed. Put another way, an individual’s life today is essentially the sum of their habits, says James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits.
I always say that in order to make any new habit easier to do, we should always start with an incredibly small new thing that isn’t reliant on motivation and willpower. Motivation comes and goes, and willpower is something that is easily exhausted as it is used throughout the day. A new habit needs to be so easy and simple that an individual can’t say “no” to doing the habit, it’s just naturally achieved.
For example, I try and eat as “clean” as I can, at least for week-training days as I would call them. I won’t deny that every once in a while I let myself have some ice cream, or any sort of fried food. But at the end of the day, I have to make sure I am aware of what my goals are in terms of how my body feels and performs just so I can achieve my goals. Eating “clean” has become my natural habit. It was something small at first but as I got used to it during the years it has become something that is natural to me.
Identifying barriers and challenges ahead of time can be an effective way to address them before they become overwhelming. I know it can be super easy to give up on goals and new habits when life gets challenging. That’s why it’s critical to remind yourself that a day or even a week of setbacks will not ruin your path to achieving your new goals.
Remembering to always look forward by envisioning what life might look like if you stick to your new habits and make the changes necessary to live more healthfully and in line with your values and aspirations. These are the things that will keep your hope, motivation and enthusiasm for achieving your goals at a high level throughout the process of change.
People are always asking “Where do I start?” This may sound silly – but the place you want to start is with proper hydration. If you are not getting enough water and healthy fluids than every other system in your body is affected. Your body systems will literally become sluggish if you are neglecting this simple foundation.
Luckily, there are already healthier options of foods and drinks on the market that can help people get their essential vitamins and minerals without the extra calories from added sugar intake. Products like whole grain rice or pasta, oats, fat-free or low-fat dairy, zero-sugar yogurt are already available on any market and can drastically help with the switch to a low-sugar diet. If you ever feel like you don't have enough knowledge or time to adjust into a better nutrition schedule, I'd suggest finding a professional of that area to better help you achieve your specific goals.
In case you are like me and like to practice sports or physical activities on a daily basis, there are also electrolyte replacement products available that are low-sugar and low-calories. Hydra-Guard Sports Drink for example is a great way of replenishing your essential electrolytes after a workout but keeping the calorie count low and consuming only 5g of natural sugars per bottle. You could use the code JOAO10 for a special 10% discount on their website, and I also recommend you to subscribe to their newsletter because they are always releasing special codes for even higher discounts on their products.