We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. – Aristotle
Springtime has finally arrived! Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and it seems as if all this new life inspires many people to dust off their forgotten New Year’s resolutions and get back into a routine so they can get fit and healthy again… just in time for the summer. Maybe you want to look great in your bikini or lose those extra few pounds you’ve gained over the winter. Perhaps you want to make healthier food choices or train for that race you’ve always wanted to run. These goals are all great, but the real question is, how do you make healthy living a habit and not just something you do to get ready for summer?
I’m sure you’ve heard it said that it takes 21 days to make a new habit, but have you ever tested that theory out? And what’s so magical about “21 days” anyway? I don’t know about you, but by January 21st, I usually get bored, lose motivation and fall off the New Years Resolution bandwagon.
Throughout most of the year, I am training for triathlons, and half-marathons. That means I’m swimming, biking, running or doing some kind of strength training routine on any given day. I mean, how could anyone get bored with all that variety, right? Well, I did get bored and I noticed that my rest days were starting to outnumber my workout days.
On any given day, if I didn’t “feel” like working out or if I was “too sore”, I just took the day off. Obviously that didn’t get me very far and I started to get frustrated with my inconsistency lack of results. I knew something had to change.
So I decided to put the 21-day theory to the test.
The Challenge: Workout EVERY DAY for 21 days.
Whether it was taking a yoga class, or running 6 miles, I committed to exercising every single day. Yes, there were days I was tired and sore and wanted to press snooze on my alarm clock, but I came up with a few strategies, which I’m going to share with you, that really helped me stick to my goal.
The Result: Forty-six days later and I still haven’t skipped a day!
After 21 days, I started to feel really good and I noticed that my body started to crave its daily dose of exercise. Notice that I said started. Personally, it took me a good solid 30 days to really feel like I had turned healthy living into a habit—for real this time. After 30 days, I felt so energized and proud of myself. My clothes fit better, my muscles were getting more toned and I was finally making progress in my triathlon training.
So if you want to turn healthy living into a lifestyle and look and feel great just in time for summer, I challenge you to take 30 days and make a new, healthy habit!
Here are 5 strategies that helped me stick with my goal and stay motivated during my 30-day challenge.
1. Enlist a support team – Tweet about your new challenge, post it on Facebook, tell all your friends! Having people cheer you on and encourage you along the way can help keep you accountable and give you the motivation you need to accomplish your goal. I shared my challenge with my friends and family, and their support and encouragement really helped keep me going. My husband even joined in on my 30-day challenge and worked out with me everyday! He challenged me to push myself and inspired me to find time and make exercise a priority.
2. Workout As Early As Possible – You know when the thought pops into your head, “I should go to the gym right now”, but you push it aside and tell yourself, “I’ll just go later”? Then, before you know it, 5 hours have gone by and you’ve already talked yourself out of it. Can you relate? I hate when that happens!
That’s why I found that working out first thing in the morning, or as early as possible was a great way to make sure I got my workout in. Whatever your 30-day goal is, make it a priority and get it done before your day gets too busy.
3. Dress For Success – This strategy is probably the one that helped me out the most. Each night, before I went to bed, I laid out my workout clothes and then in the morning, I’d put them on first thing after I got up. There’s just something about wearing my swimsuit or putting on my padded bike shorts that inspires me to get in the pool or hop on my bike sooner rather than later. I mean, who wants to wear a swim suit or padded bike shorts all day?! Not me! I also found that if I bought something small, like a new pair of socks, or treated myself to a new workout outfit, I was more motivated to get my workout in because I couldn’t wait to try out my new item! I also felt super confident and sexy in my new clothes and that surprisingly made me push myself harder!
4. Expand Your Horizons – Doing something for 30 days straight can get boring and monotonous. So, switch it up and try a new class at the gym or a different cardio machine that you’ve never used before. Whatever it takes, just get creative and keep things interesting! I tried a new yoga class, which has now become one of my favorite classes, and I started to use the cardio machines in the theater room at the gym. It’s basically like a movie theater with treadmills and bikes and it makes the time FLY!
5. Remind Yourself How Good It Feels – I’m now 47 days into my new healthier and happier lifestyle and I can honestly say that I feel awesome! Along the way, there were days when I wanted to quit or just take the week off, but I reminded myself of how good it feels after I’m finished! When you want to quit or you can’t see any progress, remind yourself of how good it feels and how good it is for you. Trust me, you will never regret a workout!
I challenge you to invest in yourself and give yourself the gift these 30 days. Be creative, find out what works best for you and come up with some of your own strategies that will help set yourself up for success. You’re just 30 days away from a happier and healthier you!