You Exercise For Change, So You May Need To Change Other Things For Success
Do you recognize the headline?
It’s an older song by Sheryl Crow, released in 1996, and I was a real fan of hers and this song when it was out. This song popped into my head when I was racking my brain to dig up another thought for a blog post.
You know when you get that earworm, and a song gets stuck in your head? It’s happening to me right now. Oh well, hang on, I got to go dig it out. 😊
Wow, that got sidetracked fast; let’s get back on track, shall we? Where was I? Yes, a change will do you good. The primary reason people start and continue an exercise routine is change, a change for the better. It could be to
Add more muscle.
Get Sexy (usually a combination of the first two).
Improve performance ( in and out of the gym).
Look better in the mirror.
Either way, nobody wants to change for the worse when you’re looking at changing your current situation. You want to change for the better, whether it be your physical appearance or something else. And you want results for your sacrifice and toll because if you don’t, the effort to change will not last long.
Let’s dive in to see what other changes you can make to get results.
Before The Change
I assume you’re exercising regularly, which has become a habit, but changes to help you further in this health and fitness journey may be more challenging. But if exercise is not quite a habit yet, keep reading because I’m going into a mini-deep dive on habit change.
A habit is a routine of behavior repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously, without you even thinking about it. Habits are commonly divided into three groups.
The first group is the habits we overlook and are automatic because they are part of your lives, like tying shoelaces or brushing your teeth.
A second group of habits is good for you, and work hard on establishing—like eating well or getting enough sleep.
The third group is terrible habits—smoking, procrastinating, or overspending. These are the ones you try to reduce.
How To Change Your Habits
The best way to change bad habits is to replace them directly with better ones. When you create a habit, your brain makes new neurological pathways allowing you to use those habits.
But why do you keep returning to your old (bad) habits? The neural pathways established due to the habits you develop never get deleted. Those pathways are there for you if you need to return to use them, much like knowing how to ride a bike when you haven’t done it in years.
Since existing pathways never get erased, the best way to change existing habits (that you don’t want anymore) is to replace them with new ones.
5 Steps To Help Change Your Habits
These are NOT in order of importance but think of these as suggestions when looking at changing for the better. The steps below can be adapted to exercise or any other change you’re trying to make.
Design your environment better: Make it easier for the habit to stick. For example, if you want to go to the gym, pack your bag the night before and make it one of the first things you see when you wake up.
Surround yourself with cheerleaders: If you’re trying to lose weight, but your friends want to go out for fast food, do you think it makes losing weight easier or more difficult?
Start smaller: Most people want to create significant change quickly, but starting small helps new habits’ stick’ better. For example, have a protein shake daily if you’re trying to lose weight.
Get hooked on your habit: That’s the point. It takes a little bit to make it stick. Don’t worry if you miss a day. If you miss a day, don’t miss it twice.
Have clear intentions: Having a goal helps. For example, you want to lose fat and feel better to keep up with your kids.
Let’s Put Change Into Action
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
This saying originated from a famous Chinese proverb and is helpful when looking to make changes for the better. A personal example is when things weren’t going well for me, and I was a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. So, I started with a small change, talked about my feelings, and asked for advice.
A small but necessary change, but this change led me to therapy (big change) which helped me deal with my issues better. The slight change in opening up led to a successful, more significant change. For a change to do you good, it has to stick, and an excellent way to make it stick is to start small and then build on it.
Here are a few examples.
Fat Loss/ Lose Weight
Diet is tricky, but rather than jumping into a diet, start with small changes before jumping into a fad diet. For example
Aim for 8000-10000 steps per day.
Make your trigger foods harder to eat.
Start each meal with a glass of water.
Drink a protein shake most days of the week.
Reduce your fat or carbohydrate consumption but not at the same time.
Have ‘healthier’ food more prominent in your house, like fruit in a bowl.
Don’t eliminate the trigger food you eat or drink too much of. First, try to have one less; if this works, gradually reduce your consumption.
Aim for 8000-10000 steps per day.
Start moving in ways that please you, like when you were a kid. Like riding a bike, hopscotching, or jumping rope.
Move in ways that make you happy, not miserable.
Walk for 10 minutes and add 1 minute each time you go for a walk. You can add a minute to any cardio mode you will but start with 10 minutes.
Get your movement snacks in. Pick one movement and do a certain amount of reps per hour or day.
Please choose one or two of those and try to stick with it for two consecutive weeks. When you feel this habit is starting to stick, you may be ready for a more significant change.
Change for the better is what you want from this diet and exercise deal. You want this change to happen immediately; seeing the fruits of your labor usually takes some time. But none of this happens if you quit. This is why it pays to start small and build on it. Like building a house, build your body brick by brick until you become a Brickhouse. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.