We have officially started the New Year! And with the start of the New Year you have plenty of lists to read through that will help you make it through another year…
I can’t help but to put together my own! So here are my 3 very important tips that you can use to live your healthiest and happiest in 2011.
1. Do less.
This first one doesn’t make sense to a lot of people at first: to achieve more, you have to do less.
People make change hard on themselves by attempting to change too many things at once. They try to overhaul their diet, their exercise habits, their finances, their relationships, etc., all at once — and each of those changes is probably made up of 10-20 smaller behaviors that have to change.
Through my time as a Fitness Coach I have noticed it is very hard for people to try to change more than thing at a time. Emerging research shows that people can typically change only one behavior at a time. Just in case you missed it: One. Behavior. At. A. Time.
We all are impatient. We want instant gratification. We want everything now — or better yet, yesterday. When I start teaching a new client physique change I start very slow. One step/habit at a time this way we can make sure we are truly changing that person versus just throwing a bunch of information at them. Some people want all that info upfront. That sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? I mean, if there they can handle everything right from the beginning then they could do more over the same course of time, right?
You see, doing more is the problem! It’s what everyone tries to do. They go in guns blazing, making massive changes across the board, only to collapse in a heap of exhaustion and self-loathing when the first promise to themselves is broken. Of course, you COULD change more than one thing at once, but not for long, and never for long enough to see lasting, sustainable improvement — which is what you really want, isn’t it?
Accept the fact that you can only change one behavior at a time, and you will succeed. Try to change more than one thing at a time, and you will fail. It’s really that simple.
2. Exercise doesn’t work. – Focus on Nutrition!
The exercise myth! You know, the one the fitness clubs across the globe keep telling us that as long as we exercise a few times a week and eat a “sensible diet”, whatever that means, we’ll have a sizzling sex life and cover model abs.
In fact, two recent studies have shown that exercise alone, isn’t all that effective for helping people lose fat, gain lean mass, and improve their body composition. I know it’s hard to believe. But it’s totally true.
One, done at the University of Texas, showed that with 6 hours of strength + cardio exercise per week for 3 straight months, participants only lost 1lb of fat vs. their completely sedentary counterparts.
Another, done at the University of Oklahoma, showed that with 5 hours of strength + cardio exercise per week for 2.5 months, participants only lose 1.5lbs of fat vs. their sedentary counterparts.
Of course, I’m not telling you this to convince you that exercise is no good. Instead, I’m trying to make a much more important point. And that point is this. Exercise ALONE isn’t very effective at losing weight. However, when you combine a proper exercise program PLUS the right nutrition habits, the sky’s the limit.
3. Find a social support network.
Weight gain can spread like a virus! I reviewed an interesting study on precision nutrition website (click hyperlink to review you). The study looked into patterns of weight gain and obesity in communities, and the conclusion was this: Weight gain is contagious!
Now, of course they didn’t mean that someone could cough on you and a few days later you’d wake up with a fever and fifty pounds heavier. Body fat doesn’t spread like a germ, but it does spread. The study concluded that it spreads through the behaviors we pick up, most of the time subconsciously, from those around us.
Fortunately, leanness also can also be contagious. If you hang out with people who INSPIRE you, who LIFT YOU UP, unwittingly you’ll find yourself inspiring others, and lifting up those around you.
Decide today to go out and add some more fitness-minded people to your life. Start small. If you don’t have anyone, find someone. If you’ve got one person, find a second. If you’ve got two people, find a third. Find a training partner. Join a group class. Find a friend of a friend who’s done what you want to do and just ask them for help.
Really, if you don’t have a strong social support circle, people who can help you, people who inspire you, people you can lean on, then that’s one of the first things that needs to improve in 2011.
I know my list is only 3 but like the first rule stated…. One. Behavior. At. A. Time.
Keeping things simple is the key to long term success. So do your best to apply one of these three tips to your life this New Year! Who knows it could mean the beginning of a whole lot of change (for the good) in 2011!