How To Make Lasting Changes

Making concrete, long term changes to your overall wellness isn’t an easy task, especially for people who struggle with staying consistent. When the going gets tough, it can be very tempting to give up.

Wellness is a physiologic state where you meet all the demands of daily life without compromising your overall health. This doesn’t happen overnight, so setting clear, long – term goals is essential.

Striving towards a consistent, overall sensation of wellness is what we aim for. You can be physically fit, but not be healthy overall. Wellness is being healthy in all aspects of your life including emotional, physical, mental and spiritual. Aiming for wellness means making lasting changes.

To make those lasting changes, create goals to hold you accountable and give yourself milestone finish lines to encourage you to push through initial discomfort and discouragement.

Over time, achieving these goals also lead you to changing your environment so you don’t revert to your old, unhealthy habits. The rest are pure dedication and consistency, and a clear motivation why you’re working towards a healthier lifestyle.

Don’t know where to start? Here’s a guide to help you make lasting changes.

Pace Yourself

This is important. Consistency is one of the most important components when it comes to attaining your fitness goals. Pacing yourself means planning your milestones so you can track your progress over time.

Not all people achieve the same milestones at a given time. Don’t be pressured with their progress and focus on your own milestones. Remain dedicated and consistent with your workout routine at your own pace.

To practice consistency and long-term action, you must set your goals clearly with a doable timeline.

Spread out your goals over a reasonable period of time. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Cliche, but true. It means consistent, steady work of keeping your eye on your goals and steadfastly making good decisions to get you there.

Constantly Assess Your Progress And Development

You make lasting changes when you get motivation from reminding yourself about the progress you’ve made. It’s fulfilling when you see your achievements and realize how far you’ve come. So keep a record of your progress.

Also, your goals might change and evolve from time to time and the end result might not be the same as you initially planned. But take this as a good thing. Be open to constant developments as you work your way towards wellness.

Avoid Burnout

Remembering your progress helps you maintain the motivation you have, or even improve it. In your wellness journey, there comes a point that you might feel physically and mentally exhausted due to a change in routine, withdrawal after quitting bad habits, or simply a new, tougher workout regime.

Or the reverse, where you feel a slump because you’re no longer excited about your current routine.

Change things up. Rekindle your passion and enthusiasm. Try other things. Keep moving forward. If you’ve been doing cross training, you might be fit enough to do focused training for more intense levels of hiking or wall climbing. If you’ve been doing yoga and you don’t feel like it’s for you, why don’t you try spin classes next?

Being balanced in our approach towards wellness is paramount. Culturally, here in the west, we are bombarded with messages and potentials of instant gratification. Marketing campaigns and unrealistic expectations consistently mis-guide us from reality. Therefore, be aware that it may not feel comfortable to take small steps initially. We may be keen to work out more and push ourselves harder. Pushing ourselves harder is fantastic after a period of time and I implore it, though initially, for at least the first few months, small steps is key to avoid burnout.

Further, As men, we are more likely to exercise more vigorously than women at the gym, due to our competitive nature [1]. Stay true to your own journey without being swayed by anyone else. The progress you make each day will gradually lead to a place you never thought possible.

Don’t believe me? Check out the video testimonials of different people who cannot believe the results they are having when they focus on overall wellness over a long period of time.

Avoiding burning out also happens when we develop strong habits, which I will get into next.

Focus on small decisions that turn into habits.

A study suggests that your daily habits and practices affect both your short term and long term health and quality of life [2]. With proper nourishing nutrition, regular physical activity and mental health training, you are bound to experience monumental shifts as your habits start to change.

In my own life, I never felt as though I had the pieces in place until I worked on all three aspects of wellness, which are physical fitness, nourishing food and mental health. It took me months to figure out how in-corporate and cement habits to get me back to a state of wellness. I speak more about it in a video that highlights my journey to wellness. Check it out!

Although you may have heard this before, to build a habit we need to begin with small decisions.  Deciding to wake up early to accommodate your meditation before being pulled by the world is important. Even 5 minutes of meditation in the beginning can be beneficial. Working out soon after, or at another time of the day can also have a lasting impact on your daily state of being. We talked about breaking down your goals above, but when you break your day down further to small decisions, it’s even more manageable.

The same goes for eliminating negative habits. If eating sweets every night, or drinking too much coffee is a problem, I don’t recommend quitting cold-turkey. I even go over this point in my instagram post (I even made a humorous image for it). Begin with a small reduction in the negative habit and see how you can replace it with another at the same time. If you eat sweets at night, see if you can the quantity and replace it with a healthy alternative.

Thankfully, the science is clear about how to build habits quickly and efficiently. Let me discuss now.

The Habit Loop

Our lives revolve in a habit loop which comes in three parts: cue, routine and reward. The cue is when your brain recognizes a specific reward. The routine is when you do an action to achieve that reward.

When it comes to wellness, it’s about thinking about your goals and creating an action plan to achieve them that will eventually turn into a habit for a lasting change.

For example, you wake up early in the morning. That’s a cue, and an opportunity to be productive. Your routine is either to snooze the alarm or get up and start your day.

Both routines have a reward: one is staying in bed and sleeping longer, the other has rewards for your wellness goals and being proud of yourself.

As you choose better routines and rewards, you start a habit loop that just becomes an effortless and natural part of your life.

You Are What You Repeatedly Do

The person you are today is a result of your habits. Are you currently in good shape? You will be, depending on the habits you start. Are you burnt out? Then you’ve probably been in an unhappy cycle of overworking yourself. Your habits are the reason why you are what you are today.

To start your journey towards wellness, dedicate yourself to healthy habits. I read a Buddhist quote once that spoke about how a pot is filled one drop at a time. This is similar to our journey and our life. Small steps, each drop, will alter your life. The question is, which way would you like to go? In reverse, each negative habit will gradually take us far from our ideal state of being.

Your productivity, wellness, and overall well-being start with good habits. Habits make changes effortless and unnoticeable. It simply becomes what you do. And that’s how you make lasting changes.

Change Your Environment

The first step towards achieving your wellness goals is removing what doesn’t contribute to the change you want to happen. Does your fridge still contain junk food? Then it’s time to get rid of it and replace it with healthy food and snacks that won’t set you back.

This above step is one of the challenges in our 30 – day challenge programs! I run them to help people take control of their lives in a fun, community fashion. Stay up to date on our next 30 – day challenge by signing up for our newsletter.

Continuing on, you can also replace your sofa with a stationary bike so you can exercise while watching Netflix instead of just slouching the whole day. A standing desk is also a great choice so you can do stretching exercises while working.

Also, a green environment helps motivate and facilitate physical activity [3]. A garden is a great place to do your workout, but if you don’t have one, you can simply have potted plants inside your house so you can still have that green and clean vibe while working out.

Creating a mini greenery around your workout space is the best option to avoid exercise burnout and support your milestones. Maybe add some monsteras around your area or other plants you prefer. It’s more relaxing to work out if you have these little buddies around.

The combination of exercise and exposure to nature is a powerful way to prevent exercise burnout. When you’re exercising outdoors, you’re away from any distractions that can tempt you to just slouch and forget about your fitness goals.

A change in environment can massively impact the way you achieve your goals. Make it as pleasing and motivating as possible.

What’s your WHY? 

The biggest and most effective motivation is your reason for all these goals, decisions, and new habits. Maybe it’s because you want to be healthy to see your children (and grandchildren) grow up. Maybe it’s simply to avoid facing harsh diseases that debilitate you at old age.

A study suggests that establishing a healthy routine helps improve people’s chronic disease management [4]. However, building that routine takes time. You can start by slowly incorporating healthy options to your lifestyle until it feels natural to you.

Getting healthy and thinking of your family is a good WHY when shifting to healthy habits. Perhaps you have things you want to accomplish, whether they’re personal or professional milestones. Turn them into your WHY to serve as your constant guide in every decision.

Everyone aims to live their life to the fullest while being happy and healthy at the same time, and it’s only possible if you take good care of yourself. If you start shifting to healthy habits today, you’ll reduce the risk of disease and you are at your best to achieve your ambitions.

Lasting changes start with a good combination of decisions and habits you make everyday. It’s a commitment that will benefit you today, and most importantly, as you grow older.

Start living a healthier lifestyle now. Champ City offers consultations and personalized programs specifically designed for your wellness needs. We have a professional team ready to help you be the best version of yourself.

References

  1. Barnekow-Bergkvist, M., Hedberg, G., Janlert, U., Jansson, E. (1996) Physical activity pattern in men and women at the ages of 16 and 34 and development of physical activity from adolescence to adulthood. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9046548/
  2. Rippe, J. (2018) Lifestyle Medicine: The Health Promoting Power of Daily Habits and Practices. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6367881/
  3. Gladwell, V., Brown, D., Wood, C., Sandercock, G., & Barton, J. (2013) The great outdoors: how a green exercise environment can benefit all. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3710158/
  4. Arlinghaus, K., Johnston, C. (2019) The Importance of Creating Habits and Routine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6378489/

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