By Paul T
Unlike most people I know, I got a head start on my resolutions this year. After settling into my new place in October I decided to get serious about making some changes. I have learned some things over the last few months that I will share below, in hopes that you might have increased chances of succeeding in any resolutions you may have for the new year.
My philosophy is this: making conscious change requires self awareness. In my case, I know that I am lazy when left to my own devices and that any roadblock or hurdle could prevent me from making the changes that I want to make. So it’s important to make things so easy for myself that I have absolutely no excuse for reverting back to old behaviours. I’m also busy, so I need to make changes that will make efficient use of my time. Can you relate?
I present to you my resolution hacks…
1. Buy a veggie steamer.
Seriously, do it. I’m talking about a $30 Black & Decker veggie steamer – Canadian Tire sells them. This appliance has made healthy eating a snap for me. I pick up fresh organic veggies from the store each week, bring them home, cut them up and toss them in the steamer. It took a little while to learn the different timing required to steam specific types of veggie and plan out when to add each one to end up with a nice mix of veggies. But once I did it was smooth sailing. I took a look at the groceries I purchased recently and it’s incredible to see the changes I’ve made since buying the steamer. I have minimized the amount of processed and packaged foods that I bring into my home.
2. Prepare one new healthy recipe a week.
A good friend and I have teamed up on this. One week I will find one healthy vegan recipe with no more than 6 simple ingredients (it has to be easy or I might come up with excuses not to prepare it). The next week she finds a recipe. We try out the recipe and share feedback. We then each decide if we will add it to our regular meal rotation. I am gradually building an arsenal of healthy/tasty/simple recipes, and changing my diet in the process.
3. Do not bring junk food into your house.
I don’t know about you, but if I have chocolate in my house it’s all.that.I.can.think.about. O.O So I just don’t bring it into my house. No cookies, chocolate, chips etc have graced my cupboards for ages. It’s much easier to exhibit self control when at the grocery store than when you are watching re-runs of Mad Men in your jammies.
1. Use Fitness Blenders
Just one tip for exercise: try out Fitness Blenders. I bought a month-long workout program from them recently and have modified my exercise habits. Never in my life have I worked out five times in one week, but I did it three weeks in a row in December. This shizz is real. I won’t say more as I already spoke of Fitness Blenders at length here.
1. Make SMART goals.
I think this is common knowledge by now. Check this out for guidelines on how to make SMART goals.
2. Track your progress.
A wise mentor once told me that ‘what gets measured gets done.’ It’s easy to rationalize and convince yourself that you are making progress even when you are not. It’s a different story when you look at a tracking sheet that shows you what you have actually been doing. If you track your progress and check it regularly there will be less room for rationalization. Either you have done what you committed to do, or you haven’t. Simple as that. Here’s a tracking sheet that I use.
3. Pair up with a friend.
Personally, I have done this in 3 areas and found it to be an effective motivator. I have teamed up with one friend to try out new yoga classes, with another to improve my diet and exercise routines, and with a third to work on studying for my first level project management certification. Working with a friend adds accountability, and makes it more fun. For example, taking a weekly/biweekly yoga class with my good friend means that I have an excuse to spend time with her regularly. And if I flake out on attending a class it not only impacts me, but her as well. I’m on the hook. In short, we grow and improve together and it’s a blast.
To truly make conscious change you have to change your mind, your approach. I think a lot of people fail to make change because they look at it as a chore. Change your perception of it and you’ve won the battle (against yourself and your limiting thoughts).
I hope these tips help. If you know of any others please leave them in the comments section below.