Remind yourself why you want to do it
Let’s start at the beginning. If you are to stand a chance of leading a healthy lifestyle among all of today’s unhealthy temptations you need to truly understand the reason why. Why do you want to eat healthier and exercise more? Is it to fit in smaller pants? Is it to look better? Is it to feel better about yourself and be more confident? Or is it that because you look good, feel good, and have confidence, that you enjoy life more and have an easier time reaching your goals and dreams?
Organize your priorities
It’s very normal that too many things are competing for the top priority slot and that can be very stressful, even paralyzing. It helps if you write your priorities down and sort them by importance. The number one category needs to be fully satisfied, the second category is important but if the going gets tough you can live without it, and the third is optional, a nice to have if all else is going well. It might look something like this:
1. Being healthy, spending time with family and friends, earning a living, getting good sleep
2. Enjoying hobbies, progressing at work, achieving athletic goals
3. Going out drinking, playing video games, watching TV shows, using social media
Only change 15 minutes at a time
Deciding to home-cook all of your meals from now on or signing up for 4 hours of yoga a week out of the blue might not be the best idea if you want lasting change. It’s much more effective to make small incremental improvements. Try to go to bed 15 minutes earlier than usual. Watch 15 minutes less of TV. Add a 15-minute body weight exercise routine. Assign 15 minutes in the morning for prepping your healthy breakfast. These types of changes will be much easier to start and keep up.
Hack your environment
All of this theoretical knowledge and initial enthusiasm is very nice but it doesn’t mean much if you just rely on your willpower to maintain those changes. You need to prep your environment in a way that doesn’t allow you to fail easily. Here are some quick tips:
• Set up a home gym. Buy a kettlebell, pull-up bar, or a yoga mat. Learn proper technique from a good instructor and you’re set to exercise 5-10 minutes at home every day with 0 minutes spent travelling to and from a gym.
• Don’t keep junk food at home or at work. Instead, place fresh fruits and vegetables visibly in both places.
• Put meal prep and movement in your calendar with as much seriousness as work stuff. For example, Sunday 19:00 – I’m going to cook in bulk so I have a fridge full of healthy leftovers the whole week.