Welcome to month 3 of 2018! Congratulations to those of you who have stuck with your New Year’s resolution to make fitness a priority in the new year. However, we know that some of you may not be as focused as you once were.
For those of you struggling to keep the momentum going, or even those of you who feel like you’ve already fallen off the fitness wagon – fear not! Many of you may think that a new healthy habit should begin upon the start of a year new, new month, or new week. We’re here to tell you that you can start at any time – it doesn’t matter as long as you start.
This is why LA Fitness has deemed this March as #MarchtoLAFitness. If you want to see changes, you’ve got to put in the time! Tired? Everyone is. Busy? Most people are. However, being tired or busy and not setting aside the time you need to make yourself healthy is a lose-lose situation. If you’re feeling lousy about excess weight, poor nutrition or a tired mind, starting a healthy habit is what your body needs.
The American Psychological Association (APA) suggests changing one behavior at a time. Swap out that quick fast food meal for a home-cooked one instead. Get an extra hour of sleep or add an extra day spent at the gym to your weekly schedule. Unhealthy behaviors or habits typically develop over the course of time, which means you can’t expect healthy habits to develop overnight. It’s going to take discipline and practice. Worried that you don’t have the willpower or determination to make these changes? Try this:
Set Realistic Goals
Let’s say you want to lose a certain of weight. A reasonable goal is to allow yourself enough time to make this goal come to fruition. Try setting short and long-term goals. For instance, a goal to lose 1 pound a week is a lot more realistic than wanting to lose 10 pounds. Be realistic with yourself and know what fits your lifestyle. Hitting a short-term goal (i.e., losing one pound in a week), will leave you feeling accomplished and will help develop the healthy habits you need to continue working toward your long-term goals.
Involve a Friend
Did you know that having someone to help you along the way can help you stay motivated? Whether that person is a family member, significant other, friend or coworker, you may want to invite someone who shares a similar goal to join you on your way to success! Looking to sweeten the deal? LA Fitness offers a program called VIP Rewards where you can invite a friend or family member to join you at our club while earning points that can be redeemed for LA Fitness gear. (Check out rewards here!)
Habit vs. Lifestyle
Developing healthy habits can lead to a healthy lifestyle, but how long does it take exactly to start a new healthy habit? This number has been debated a lot, with some thinking it takes 21 days to develop a habit while others believe it can take up to 90 days. How true are these numbers and what does that mean when setting a goal to sticking to consistent, healthy habits? An article published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) references an article1 focused on the psychology of ‘habit-formation’ and general practice. Below is an excerpt taken from the study:
Unrealistic expectations of the duration of the habit formation process can lead the patient to give up during the learning phase. Some patients may have heard that habits take 21 days to form. This myth appears to have originated from anecdotal evidence of patients who had received plastic surgery treatment and typically adjusted psychologically to their new appearance within 21 days.22 More relevant research found that automaticity plateaued on average around 66 days after the first daily performance,9 although there was considerable variation across participants and behaviours. Therefore, it may be helpful to tell patients to expect habit formation (based on daily repetition) to take around 10 weeks. Our experience is that people are reassured to learn that doing the behaviour gets progressively easier; so they only have to maintain their motivation until the habit forms. Working effortfully on a new behaviour for 2–3 months may be an attractive offer if it has a chance of making the behaviour become ‘second nature’.
Uh oh… I Slipped Again
Don’t let a day (or two or three) skipping the gym deter you from getting right back on track! Did you eat unhealthy over the weekend? Perhaps you maybe indulged a little too much on last night’s dinner. Well, this means all your hard work and progress is gone, right? Wrong! A little misstep is no reason to feel like you’ve failed at working toward your goal. Don’t wait until next week, next month, or next year to get back on track – do it today because the time spent waiting to fix what you want to change can be time spent actively working towards your life’s goals.
You’ve got this. We believe in you. #MarchtoLAFitness
- Gardner, Benjamin, et al. “Making Health Habitual: the Psychology of ‘Habit-Formation’ and General Practice.” The British Journal of General Practice, Royal College of General Practitioners, Dec. 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3505409/.
- “Making Lifestyle Changes That Last.” American Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, www.apa.org/helpcenter/lifestyle-changes.aspx.