Achieve Your 2018 Fitness Goals

imagescae2vkgaWill this be another year of half-hearted attempts at getting fit, or will this really be the year begun with a new attitude? Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit gives us hope and a way to make changes that can break-up the old routines. The following is a mini-plan to begin.

1. Create a Routine: Teach your brain that it’s time to exercise by devising a cue, like putting your sneakers next to the door, or packing your lunch the night before. “A routine gives your brain something to latch onto,” says Duhigg. Establishing a new habit is far easier than changing one.

2. Set Small Goals: You want to run 5 miles 3 x weekly? Week one; wear your workout gear. Week two; walk around the block. Increase slowly until you reach your goal. “Habit formation is built on small wins, according to the author.”

3. Choose a Reward: When you reach your daily goal, regardless of what it is, treat yourself to a piece of chocolate, 20-minutes of Web browsing or whatever you genuinely like. “This works because you are training yourself to associate a behavior with something you actually enjoy,” states Duhigg.

4. Write it Down: List your cues and rewards: “Monday- put on workout clothes + one square of dark chocolate.” This works because by identifying your routine, you significantly increase the chance that the habit will take hold,” according to the author.

Change requires discipline, patience and your personal buy-in. Think back to times when you have been able to consciously shift your thinking, modify or eliminate a behavior. Redirect your focus into replacing old actions with new behaviors for success!

©MWeisner2017

Habits to Make and Break

First we make our habits, and then our habits make us. – John Drydenfuture and past

No one would critique your habit of going to the gym daily or preparing lunch the night before or limiting TV watching to specific programs. They might envy your discipline and wish they had the same stick-to-it drive. What they don’t realize is that you’ve gotten to this place through a series of steps and missteps, revising and working to find the combination that supports your goals. You are also flexible enough to know that not all habits work forever, and that tweaking and adjusting behaviors is an ongoing process.

What about BAD habits? Whether it’s mid-day snacking, skipping the gym or procrastinating, feeling helpless to change takes its toll on your self esteem. Yet, you feel helpless to change and so the loop continues and you become more discouraged and resigned to accept these behaviors as a given. The good news is that you are not alone, nor are you a victim of genetics. Research breaks down the psychology driving habits into Three distinct stages:
1. Cue
2. Routine
3. Reward
This habit loop is very challenging to break and has actually been hardwired into our psyches. Furthermore, we don’t break bad habits; rather, we replace them with more positive alternatives.

If you are committed to changing your behavior, there are 4 doable steps to begin:
• Identify the stages– what’s the cue/routine/reward series that lead to your habit? Feeling tired in the afternoon and passing the candy bowl or vending machine for a shot of sugar?
• Explore alternatives– what’s a healthier routine? A different route? Getting outside for a quick walk? Packing a nutritious snack?
• Commit to change and adjust as needed– test drive your new routine. Is it enough of a change or can you tolerate something more radical? Perhaps your mid-day stroll for a snack was really a way to change the scenery and move, while the sugar treat was just an added “bonus”
• Anticipate setbacks- make your new habit loop bulletproof. Plan ahead and whether it’s wearing sneakers or packing an apple, prepare for the inevitable slide. It’s OK- tomorrow is another day to begin anew.

When we walk away from labeling some habits as bad, we give ourselves permission to be human. After all, we created them for ourselves and we also have the power to add new ones that rather than break the old, replace them with a preferred alternative.

©MWeisner2017

Achieve Your Summer Fitness Goals

imagesCAE2VKGAWill this be another summer season of half-hearted attempts at getting fit, or will this really be the time to begun with a new attitude? Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit gives us hope and a way to make changes that can break-up the old routines. The following is a mini-plan to begin.

1. Create a Routine: Teach your brain that it’s time to exercise by devising a cue, like putting your sneakers next to the door, or packing your lunch the night before. “A routine gives your brain something to latch onto,” says Duhigg.

2. Set Small Goals: You want to run 5 miles 3 x weekly? Week one, wear your workout gear. Week two, walk around the block. Increase slowly until you reach your goal. “Habit formation is built on small wins, according to the author.

3. Choose a Reward: When you reach your daily goal, regardless of what it is, treat yourself to a piece of chocolate, 20-minutes of Web browsing or whatever you genuinely like. “This works because you are training yourself to associate a behavior with something you actually enjoy,” states Duhigg.

4. Write it Down: List your cues and rewards: “Monday- put on workout clothes + one square of dark chocolate.” This works because by identifying your routine, you significantly increase the chance that the habit will take hold,” according to the author.

Change require discipline, patience and your personal buy-in. Think back to times when you have been able to consciously shift your thinking, modify or eliminate a behavior. Redirect your focus into replacing old actions with new behaviors for success!