In the last two months, a majority of us, myself included, ate too much, drank too much, and didn’t move enough. However, it is a new year and time to leave the stress of 2020 behind to move forward with a better 2021. Most of us have many lofty goals set for the new year and plan to hit all of those resolutions in 2021! This year, instead of coming out of the gate with a lot of intensity and quitting your new routine by the second week of January, I encourage you to apply a different method to accomplishing your resolutions. The key to looking better, feeling better, and being better in 2021 and beyond is consistency. The following three tips help build sustainable habits that can last a lifetime.
Most of us resolve to hit the gym every day in 2021 and eat nothing but clean whole foods. However, if you haven’t been to the gym in a while trying to force yourself to go every day won’t work long term and there is a good chance you end up injured and back on the couch. Instead, put your clothes out and make it your goal to put them on each day. That’s it. Once you do this, you will want to go to the gym or out for a run or walk. If you haven’t been exercising, start by walking 10,000 steps each day to build general fitness. This goes a long way in helping you stay injury-free. Once you complete a month of 10,000 steps per day, up the intensity and start incorporating group fitness classes to build muscle and get lean.
2.Track Your Progress
One of my favorite techniques that Jerry Seinfeld uses is putting a big “X” on a calendar every day that he wrote. As the chain grows, it will be hard not to keep going. Pick one keystone habit such as journaling in the morning or putting your phone away at night and track it. Every day you succeed, make a note somewhere that you can see. You will feel a sense of control as you can see the progress you are making. It can take a long time to reap the benefits of your new habits fully and giving yourself a short term reward through tracking make it much more unlikely that you will quit.
Sharing your goals with others is a great way to create accountability. You can do this with your spouse, friends, or the world through social media. When you tell people what you plan to do, you’ll have second thoughts when you plan to skip a day. A community can also help hold you accountable. If we hang out with people who have healthy habits, we tend to adopt those. On the other hand, if our group of friends or family has bad habits, we will adopt them. We are tribal people and when we find a group, we go along. Look at who you are hanging around. If you really want to make a change, you may have to change the people you’re associating with.
To Sum it up
Adopting new habits that turn into long term habits can be difficult. We try to make them even harder by doing too much at the beginning. This year, let’s try something new and build lasting habits through small actions each day that will make us look better, feel better, and be better. Whatever your goals are for 2021, take a step back and map out small daily goals, you can build on to reach your goals.
What is the minimum effective dose to get you where you want to go? Track your progress daily. Pat yourself on the back when you see your habit growing. Create accountability by telling someone close to you about your goals or joining a group. Join me for the next 21 days by spending 5 minutes box breathing and ending your shower on cold. Box breathing is a simple and effective breathing protocol to calm and center the mind. You can check out a recording here
. By ending your shower on cold, you start your day by doing something uncomfortable, immediately changing your mindset. When you turn the water on cold at the end of your shower, take a couple of deep, forceful breaths in the nose and out of the mouth. Then, slow it down. Can you inhale through the nose for four seconds and exhale through the mouth for eight seconds?
Let’s get this year started right! Cheers to 2021!