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The Habits That Make You

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There are two habits that make your physique: Eating habits and exercise habits. Get those two habits in sync and you will achieve the physical state you desire.

One of my favorite quotes is by the great poet John Dryden, who once so eloquently said, “We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.” 

How true is that?

So, which habits of yours need to be adjusted?  Do you succumb to the notion that you have little or no willpower? Do you allow yourself to believe that you are lazy? These are destructive, negative thoughts that you simply must push out of your mind in order to get yourself on the right track. 

As Dryden suggests, it’s time to make new habits that will shape you into who you want to be.

Fortunately, the process doesn’t have to be as painful as you may think.  Just take it day by day, hour by hour and bite by bite.  No more, no less. 

Here are five relatively simple steps that have been proven to create lasting change.

1. Pick one habit to focus on at a time.  Too many changes too quickly tend to result in frustration and failure.  Start by choosing one of the following goals:

– Begin each day with a healthy breakfast
– Limit your sugar intake
– Pack a healthy lunch
– Say farewell to fast food
– Exercise four times a week for 45 minutes.

2. Write down your new habit and post it where you’ll see it often.  Tell your friends and family what you’re focusing on.  They’ll serve as a support network and, more often than not, even join in on the creation of your new good habits.

3. Track your progress.  Use a calendar to record your journey.  Put a star on the days you felt great and fulfilled your new habit without incident.  Along the way, there will be days when you are tempted by, and even succumb to, old habits. When that happens, remind yourself why you are committed to changing your ways.  Remember, it takes 21 days to create a new habit.  Push yourself to that number and I assure you it will get easier from there.

4. When you make a mistake, take a good look at what happened.  Why did you miss exercise?  Why did you give in to sugar cravings?  Find the answer.  Now, make a plan for avoiding that scenario in the future, and don’t let it happen again! 

5. Reward yourself.  You decide what that reward will be.  A new pair of shoes?  A bouquet of flowers?  That cool gadget you’ve been eyeing?  Make sure it’s something you truly look forward to, and definitely not something food oriented!

Once your new habit becomes second nature, it’s time to add another.  If you started with a nutritional improvement, add an exercise regime or vice versa.  Keep in mind that there will be stumbles along your road to self-improvement, but as long as you are traveling forward, you are making progress. 

Now, go out and live happily ever Active!

Chani Overstreet is an NASM Certified Personal Trainer and co-owner of Strada Fitness & Wellness Center with her husband, Luke. Strada is a state-of-the-art fitness studio located at 3041 Churchill Drive, Suite 100, in Flower Mound, across from Lifetime Fitness. Call 972.330.4300 or visit www.StradaFitness.com for more information.

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