Foolproof Action Plan to Getting & Staying Healthy This Year ... and the Best Ways to Stay on Track
Do you want this year to be the year you actually keep your New Year’s Resolution to achieve better and healthier habits?
“It’s the ultimate personal challenge,” says Leigh Stringer, author of The Healthy Workplace. "It takes guts and determination to make and keep those life-changing commitments in our lives, but it can be done.” Stringer offers up 5 major reasons we fail, and how to stay on track:
- Get Serious. We need a strong reason to overcome our natural lack of motivation.
Becoming healthier is a really good idea. But to get us to change our behavior – to actually change the way we eat, move, sleep and manage our stress on an ongoing basis – requires a really powerful motivator. We need a reason that makes it “absolutely essential” for us to do something differently, and think of ourselves differently. Our lame excuses need to be trumped by a greater calling. We need a real sense of urgency and a stronger “why.”
Deciding to be healthy has to be more than just a cool thing to do or a “nice to have.” Making the firm decision to change lifelong habits for the better requires steely resolve and a strong, unquestionable purpose. It has to be bullet-proof.
- Think. What would incentivize you to make a firm decision and commit to it?
- Write down what motivates you and post it where you will see it several times a day. This is your “why.” A strong ‘why’ can navigate when the how is not so clear.
- Choose friends wisely. You can influence your own behavior by hanging out with healthy people.
Social influence and peer pressure positively impact our exercise behavior, awareness of our intent to exercise and produce results, and the attitude maintained during the exercise experience. You are more likely to stay on an exercise program if you have a friend (either an individual or group) who works out with you. Connecting with other people is critical. We are hard-wired to want to impress and relate to our friends. In addition, if you commit to being at the gym every day, you will feel good and will achieve your goals by keeping your promise to yourself.
- Find a friend you like to exercise with and set up meetings on your calendar to do so. Make friends with people you meet at the health club.
- Surround yourself with people who are healthy and have already adopted the behaviors you are trying to achieve. Decide to be around them often. It will help nudge you to make better decisions and achieve your goals.
- Be accountable. Get a partner to help you stay that way.
If you are accountable for the commitments you make, you are much more likely to achieve your goals and succeed. One great way to keep honest is to find an accountability partner – someone you trust and who will check in with you on a regular basis (daily, weekly or whatever is needed) to see how you are doing, give you positive reinforcement, track how well you doing, and encourage you to stick with your commitments.
- Find someone you trust to be your accountability partner.
- Talk to them about your goals and specific objectives.
- Get specific with them about actions you will want to take as well as rewards and consequences for taking or not taking them
- Set up regular check-in times. This can be a text message, a periodic but regular encounter, or a phone call, whatever makes sense.
- Review your progress and your goals and objectives honestly to track your performance, and modify your targets. Keep your goals ambitious but attainable.
- Make Getting Healthy a Game. Sticking to your goals and resolutions isn’t very fun, but technology can help make it fun.
Do your best to make getting healthy fun. You can turn your journey into a game and adorn your arms and body with wearable devices that help motivate, engage and prompt you to make better decisions. Apply video game-thinking and game dynamics to engage yourself and change your behavior. The technology is available and has really evolved. You can turn any goal or objective you want into a game-like activity that will become ever more desirable and highly addictive. Gaming is now understood as a significant way to encourage people to adopt more healthy behavior. Two of the most powerful elements are competition and progressive reinforcement, where a player gets a challenge, meets that challenge and then receives an immediate reward for its accomplishment. Retained engagement is known to produce 90% improvements on start to finish challenges.
Here are a few more apps you can try:
- Pact, funded by the founder of Guitar Hero, helps you make pacts with yourself to regularly exercise and eat healthily, and you are paid in real dollars to do so.
- LifeTickis a goal-tracking app that asks you establish your core values, then follow the S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, time-specific) goal-setting method to create tasks or steps that are required to achieve your goal.
- Habit Listhelps you track your “streaks” – how many times in a row you completed a habit, and will send you reminders to keep you on track.
- Liftallows you to choose your goals and then select the type of coaching you require: advice, motivation, and/or prompting from the Lift community.
- StickK, developed by Yale University economists, requires you to sign a commitment contract which binds you to a goal. It will cost you real money if you fail to reach it.
- Pay Attention to your Environment. It may be working against you.
Your environment greatly influences the decisions you make about your health. To the maximum extent possible, take a careful look around, and if necessary, change what you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. Choose to keep your personal space clean of the enticements that will destroy your ability to achieve your goals. Clean your kitchen and your will be 44 percent less likely to snack than if your kitchen is messy. You will eat less if your kitchen is stocked with smaller vs. bigger plates (ideal is 8-10 inches in diameter).
- Pay attention to how your environment can sabotage your goals and objectives. Don’t set yourself up for failure by keeping potato chips in an easy-to-reach cabinet. Move them or get rid of them and place them on the forbidden list. Look at your home and work settings with fresh eyes, and put away (or throw away) anything that you are to giving up.
- Strategically place healthy snacks, running shoes or other prompts in prominent places to encourage you to make good on your commitments.
Choosing one of these strategies is probably not enough. You will most likely keep commitments if you employ “multiple interventions,” including strategies that intrinsically and extrinsically motivate your behavior.
The Healthy Workplace:
How to Improve the Well-Being of Your Employees-and Boost Your Company's Bottom Line
List $ 27.97
Trade hardcover 256 pages
Publisher: AMACOM (July 19, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0814437435 ISBN-13: 978-0814437438
For more information, please visit www.leighstringer.com
The Healthy Workplace utilizes real life and real time research and studies to prove that it pays to invest in people's well-being. Leigh Stringer reveals how to: create a healthier, more energizing environment; reduce stress to enhance concentration. She explains how to inspire movement at work, use choice architecture to encourage beneficial behaviors; support better sleep; heighten productivity without adding hours to the workday. The book is filled with strategies and tips for immediate improvement and guidelines for building a long-term plan. The Healthy Workplace is designed to help boost both employee well-being and the bottom line.
About Leigh Stringer
Leigh Stringer, LEED AP, is a workplace strategy expert and researcher. Her work has been covered by national media, including CNN, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and Good Morning America.
She works for EYP, an architecture, engineering and building technology firm.
She is the author of the bestselling book, The Green Workplace: Sustainable Strategies that Benefit Employees, the Environment and the Bottom Line (Palgrave MacMillan) and The Healthy Workplace: How to Improve the Well-Being of Your Employees—and Boost Your Company’s Bottom Line (AMACOM).
Leigh is currently collaborating with Harvard University’s School of Public Health, the Center for Active Design in New York, the International Facility Management Association and the AIA DC Chapter on Health and Well-being to create new tools to connect like minds and to blur the boundaries across industries in order to advance and improve our well-being at work. She is a regular contributor to Susan Cain’s Quiet Revolution Blog and Work Design Magazine. Leigh regularly speaks at U.S. Green Building Council, CoreNet Global, the International Facilities Management Association and American Institute of Architecture events and writes for a number of workplace and real estate magazines and journals, along with her blog, LeighStringer.com.
Leigh has a Bachelor of Arts, a Masters of Architecture and an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis. Leigh lives with her husband and two daughters in Washington, DC.
What People Are Saying
“Leigh is clearly on the cutting edge of the revolution that is occurring between workplace health and business performance. The Healthy Workplace is research based, immensely practical and filled with genuine insights.”
- Jim Loehr, co-founder of the Human Performance Institute and renowned performance psychologist
“We’ve spent so much time trying to make people happier at work, neglecting how to make them healthier. Stringer combines the best thinking from physiology, psychology, nutrition, and sleep science into practical advice. This is a great read on a critically important topic—a must-have for anyone concerned with waistlines and bottom lines.”
- Adam Grant, Wharton professor and New York Times bestselling author of ORIGINALS and GIVE AND TAKE
“Leigh Stringer has written the definitive guide for 21st century workplaces, and every smart CEO, manager and worker should have a well-thumbed copy of The Healthy Workplace on their desks to use as a ready reference. With fascinating research, backed by hard-hitting statistics, Stringer lays out a compelling case that, far from a luxury, creating healthy workers and workplaces is imperative for fueling productivity, creativity and a better quality of work and life for everyone.”
- Brigid Schulte, award-winning journalist, author of the New York Times bestselling Overwhelmed: Work, Love & Play when No One has the Time, and director of The Better Life Lab at New America
“The Healthy Workplace is a groundbreaking synopsis in the evolution of today's corporate workplace. Leigh Stringer not only demonstrates current challenges and trends which are changing corporate culture, but lays out in specific detail the ways companies can find solutions and innovations towards advancing the wellness agenda for their most coveted asset, their people. "
- Paul Scialla, Founder/CEO of Delos and International WELL Building Institute
“Leigh goes far beyond ROI and productivity and digs deep into unseen benefits of workplace wellness in The Healthy Workplace. Autonomy, creativity, mindfulness, and reduced presenteeism are just a few ways your culture will benefit from various workplace health initiatives. If you are looking to start a workplace wellness program or simply want to be inspired and re-ignite your population, this book will be an imperative tool so start reading and get out there and change some lives.”
- Sam Whiteside, Chief Wellness Officer, The Motley Fool
“If you pick books that offer both learning and enjoyment, Stringer’s writing delivers mightily on both. You’ll learn why the Huffington Post has napping rooms, why we have a preference for ‘savanna landscapes,’ and what ‘acres of neutral colored work stations’ do to workforce performance. Stringer offers many long lists of practical methods workplace wellness readers can take to people managers, facilities managers and food managers alike to make their workplace a healthy one. I urge you to read it!”
- Paul E. Terry, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) and Editor, The American Journal of Health Promotion
“Whether you seldom think about the interplay between healthy lives and healthy business or you live and breathe it, this book provides a new way of thinking about the connections between psychology and sociology, medicine and health promotion, architectural design, management science and the history of industrialization. Stringer convinces us like no other about the business case for raising human health and performance. Through insightful reporting of the research and company anecdotes, sprinkled with her wit and candor, Stringer challenges us to think differently and deliberately about designing healthier work organizations. This book is for everyone who wants to unlock the potential of work for good!”
- Eileen McNeely, PhD, MS, RNC, Co-Director, SHINE Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard School of Public Health
We've almost completed the glorious month of January and the big question is, 'How close are you to reaching your goals?' Did you fall off? Are you going strong? Are you discouraged at the progress or lack there of that you've made?
Well we all need encouragement and motivation to keep going, it's not always easy. Here are 5 things you should remind yourself of to keep going...
1.) Rome wasn't built in a day
Yes we've all heard it, we may have even said it a few times, but sometimes, we have to truly think about the meaning behind that saying. Always remember that anything and everything worth having takes time. Overnight successes are far and in between, though they can happen, in the world of fitness and health, it definitely doesn't happen over night. So keep going...
2.) It takes 21 days to start or change a habit... or so they say
Though some scientist say its true, who really knows if it is, as everyone is different. But one thing that we can all agree on is that breaking or making habits take time. Continue to remind yourself of that and just keep going. If you happen to fall, get right back up, but TRY to do something for 21 days straight and see where it gets you, it might get you to the point you need to make your new goal apart of your life.
3.) Beyonce' Wouldn't Quit
Maybe Beyonce isn't your favorite singer or person in the world, but you do have a favorite person or celebrity that you like. Do you think they got to whatever place they are in life and reached ultimate success by giving up? No, they didn't. So! keep going.
4.) Focus is everything
There are so many things that need our attention, but you can never forget that if you never focus on you or the things you want, you'll never be of real service to anyone else. So focus on your goal, see it, dream it, visualize it, and watch how fast you reach your goals. You'll be back in the gym, eating clean or whatever you're trying to do, in no time.
5.) Schedule time to make it happen
Life happens. To each and every one of us. Everyone needs something from us and there isn't unlimited time in the day. So with that being said, make sure you're scheduling to do what you truly want to do. Would you move, change or cancel your appointment with a person that could literally change your life and give you every single thing you want? You would be insane if you would. Well remember that you actually know and have contact with a person that can literally change your life and give you every single thing you want... YOURSELF! So don't move or change your appointments with yourself to help you reach your goal, whether that be working out, meal prepping, or whatever you're seeking to do to reach your goals.
I may have always been an athlete. But since moving to Toronto to be a personal trainer and fitness expert I’ve had many ups and downs in my life on my personal fitness journey. Big set backs continuously seemed to occur. They always needed up preventing me from reaching my fitness goals each time. However never did I get down on myself. I always picked myself up each and every time and kept going. I did not complain and I did not blame anyone or anything for my circumstances.
First I had a full and complete ACL tear. When this happened at the same time I also ended up rupturing my meniscus while fracturing the tibia at its plateau. It took me over a month post op to even be able to do a full cycle on a pedal bike. I had to have a second surgery less than a year later to remove scar tissue and shots of synvisc (a synthetic synovial fluid) as well. To this day I still don’t have full range of motion. Did this stop me? No. Does it prevent me from doing anything? No. Do I use it as an excuse? No.
Then the following spring I was on my way to coach my track team and a cab driver cut me off as I was riding my motorcycle through an intersection. I t-boned him and flew over the cab. Hit my knee that I had the ACL repair on pretty bad, got whip lash, hurt my back, got road rash and also had my hand caught in the street car track as I was sliding. Did this stop me? No. Does it prevent me from doing anything? No. Do I use it as an excuse? No.
Finally, as I was still going through physio for my motorcycle accident I had some crazy symptoms.The biggest and most obvious one was that I was exhausted all day long and had no energy (very unusual for me). So I went to the doctor and they did some scans and said you have to go to emergency now! I still had no idea why. They admitted me and performed an emergency surgery to remove a mass of cells in my stomach. This mass was very rare. And no it wasn’t cancer. From September until November I had to have blood work every week to monitor my body and make sure it didn’t come back. And it came back. Again very rare. Based on where it was my only option was chemotherapy. I had 7 rounds before I got to ring the bell that I completed my chemo! Wahoo! The whole time I kept on training my clients and I even began my very first prep while still undergoing chemo. The chemo made me very puffy and swollen but I didn’t get down on myself. I honestly didn’t even tell many people. Did this stop me? No. Does it prevent me from doing anything? No. Do I use it as an excuse? No.
I hope that you realize that sometimes the journey can be hard and tiring. There may be obstacles in your way but persevere, follow the plan, find a support system and be honest! Good things will happen and your consistency will pay off! Don’t give up and don’t let anyone or any circumstance bring you down!
Foolproof Ways To Boost Your Motivation To Get Physically Fit
It could be the case that you have access to a safe place to run or cycle or can even afford a gym membership. You also have the time to work out, even if it is on the evenings or on weekends. You even have a drawer of the right clothes and sneakers. But what you lack is motivation.
So, how can you boost your motivation levels, in order to get physically fit? Let’s take a look at a handful of foolproof ways….
Hearing is one of our most valuable senses, and it allows us to hear and enjoy a whole universe of wonderful music. Well, science has proven time and time again that music with certain qualities can be great at helping with motivation. After all, there has to be a reason why so many gyms pump out loud dance music in their fitness halls! And spin classes have the music on so loud that the leader needs a microphone or loudhailer to be heard! Usain Bolt was just one pro-athlete seen at the Rio Olympics warming up with his headphones in! Follow in his footsteps by using music to motivate you! Make a playlist the length of your workout, and aim to get right through to the end of the last track. If you lift weights, for example, music also acts a great distraction to help you push through the pain. feelingfit.info lists some great workout songs to add to your playlist!
If you lack motivation for fitness within yourself, it could well be linked to your testosterone levels. Many parallels have been drawn between motivation and testosterone by sports scientists and researchers. If you think that boosting your levels of testosterone will help you- as it likely will- be sure you do ample research first. If you want to supplement your levels, it is so crucial that you are well-informed. Being so means that you can give yourself this boost safely. Take a look at information sites HealthandFitnessVitality.com like and take in the insights there.
It’s as simple as this; if you are dehydrated, you simply can’t feel as energized and motivated as you could if you were properly hydrated. If, an hour before the end of work you simply can’t be bothered to go to the gym afterward? Down a couple of pints of water! You’re sure to feel much better afterward. That’s because water is directly linked to things like how awake and alert we feel. familydoctor.org explains more about the importance of good hydration.
This might sound like the most obvious point in the world. But actually, it is incredibly common for people to hold their breath when exercising, or pushing themselves further. However, if you are not breathing properly, you won’t maintain the energy you need to keep going. As a result, you simply won’t be motivated to do as many reps, or miles, or strokes. Remembering to breathe- and to breath correctly- isn’t something you can learn in a second. It takes time to build up the skill, and then to do it naturally, resisting the urge to hold your breath. Try saying it to yourself in your head for your exercise routines for the next few weeks. After a while, you’ll stop holding your breath and breath properly all the way through your routine. greatist.com is a guide to breathing correctly for all types of exercise.