Many people woke up on January 1st and vowed to turn over a new leaf. You imagined a better you! You set goals and for a while it seemed to work. Then you got into the busiest part of your competition season and you slipped back into your old habits.
Now you ask you self- IS CHANGE REALLY POSSIBLE?
Society seems to conspire against us making any real change. Let’s face it, TOTAL FITNESS IN 5 MINUTES A DAY was a nation wide best seller. The coach in us knows that real change takes a lot of willpower. It doesn’t have to be that way. Willpower is not the brute strength to resist temptation, but “the ability to do what you really want to do when part of you really wants to do it,” says Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist at Stanford University and the author of The Willpower Instinct. “It’s remembering what you really want, your bigger goals, in the face of your immediate desires.” And it’s a skill you can strengthen. Science may not yet have devised a surefire formula for keeping your resolution, but it has lately revealed some tips to help all of us make real and lasting change.
1. Accept that you are a busy and often stressed out person. This is the busiest part of your season!
According to McGonigal, people often fail to make change because they view their future selves with Herculean powers of self control. Don’t wait for the efficient person who resists all temptations to show up.” Take action now and understand that you are human. You will have some setbacks. Get over it and get going.
2. Pick your battles.
Like many people, I had a goal to loose some weight after the holidays. It certainly takes will power to eat right. Being at a competition where I have 7 back to back sessions over the weekend and I am staying at a hotel makes that difficult. So I just do the best I can and not stress over it. Studies also suggest that glucose in the bloodstream fuels willpower; when levels are low, it’s harder to stay the course. When you engage in acts of self control all day- it depletes your glucose levels. Prioritize and pick your battles.
3. Rethink your environment.
When your surroundings stay the same, so do your ingrained habits. Tweak your environment to help you make healthy choices. My mother was a smoker for years. When she finally decided to quit- the first thing she did was get rid of “her chair”. The place where she would sit and have her evening smoke. Just that small change of furniture made it easier for her. What can you change in your environment to help you reach your goals? Are you the coach who on your way home from practice stops and gets a slice a pizza and a beer? Try driving a different route home.
4. Start Small
Many people are too ambitious in their goals. Instead of vowing to run a marathon in May. Start with a 10 minute daily walk. If you stick with that goal for a week, congratulate yourself and up the ante the following week.
5. Envision how you’ll achieve your goal.
We ask the athletes we work with everyday to visualize their corrections, their routines or vault. But visualization can also boost our odds of success. A 2011 study from McGill University on Montreal found that among people who set a goal of eating more fruit, those who pictures when, and where, and how they would buy, prepare and eat it consumed twice as much fruit as those who didn’t. You also need to anticipate challenges- the plate of cookies one of your gymnasts brings you, the end of the day fatigue that makes you want to skip your own workout- and imagine how you’ll overcome them.
IS YOUR GOAL TO CONTRIBUTE TO GYM MOMENTUM? Keep the MOMENTUM going! Contact