Saturday, March 12, 2016

7 Habits of a Healthy Lifestyle

7 Habits of a Healthy Lifestyle
(90 day plan for Success)

All to often in the fitness industry I witness enthusiastic people make a “choice” to become healthy just to quickly become discouraged and stop being healthy, truly before they actually got started.  The problem is, when these people make these choices, which are some times even called “resolutions” they try to simultaneously change 4 or 5 things at the same time (exercise, eat better, drink more water, sleep more, stretch).  This is like asking somebody that has never juggled balls before to instantly juggle 5 balls at the same time.  What happens next… they drop all of the balls at the same time and more times than not, they never juggle again.

The trick is, we must create lifestyle habits.  One habit at a time.  Once we create true habits, they will be a part of our every day activities, just like brushing your teeth and taking a shower.

Below I have outlined 7 Habits, based on Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, and 7 steps that will be completed over a 90-day period.  Each step must be completed in succession and you must not move on to the next step until the previous step is completed and a habit is formed.  Some of the steps will then be continued for the entire 90 days and beyond, and some steps will just be completed once and then you can move to then next step.

Habit 1: Be proactive- Don’t wait for a serious health concern before you make changes
·      Step 1 (Days 1-10 )- Take a multi-vitamin or fish oil everyday for 10 days.  Do not move on to step 2 until step one has been accomplished.  Continue this step throughout the entire 90 days and beyond.
*Whether you take a multivitamin or fish oil is really not that important here.  You can choose based on your nutritional deficiencies.  What is important is starting simple.  Bottom line is, if we cannot perform a simple task for ten straight days we will not be ready to tackle larger more challenging habits.

Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind- Focus on a SMART health/ fitness related goal
·      Step 2 (Day 11- 20)- Drink ½ your body weight in ounces every day for 10 days. Continue this step throughout the entire 90 days and beyond.
*Proper hydration is key to support our daily functions.  Without proper hydration we set ourselves up behind the 8 ball.  Water is the most critical element for health, growth and development.  Water affects body temperature, waste removal, inflammation, joint lubrication, and in short, every cell in our body needs proper hydration to function properly

Habit 3: Put first things first- Priorities must be set
·      Every Sunday sit down and plan out the following:
o   Specific exercise schedule (day, time and actual workout)
o   Weekly meals
·      Once the schedule is set, nothing must take the place of scheduled activities without a cost.
o   If a workout or scheduled event is missed. $5 must be placed in the “pot”.
o   This is your built in accountability system.  What do you do with this money? We will discuss that soon

·      Step 3 (Day 21- 42)- Exercise 2 days per week
o   Must be documented/ recorded
o   Must last a least 30 min.
o   Must increase heart rate to an “uncomfortable” level (heart rate monitor is recommended)
o   Must be a full body workout
o   Do not go to step 4 until 3 weeks of consecutive recorded workouts have been completed. Continue this step throughout the entire 90 days and beyond
*REWARD Time. After you have successfully completed this step, reward yourself or somebody.  Always recognize and reward small successes.  Take that money from Step 2 and do something nice for yourself, you have earned it! Or, take that money and donate it to a charitable cause of your choice.

Habit 4: Think win/ win- You only win when others win
·      How will these healthy lifestyle changes affect those you love?
·      Step 4 (Day 43- 53)- First thing in the morning, on your iPhone, write down 1 way that your healthy lifestyle changes will affect the people you love.  Do this every day for 10 days
·      This step will only be completed for 10 days

Habit 5: Seek first to understand, then be understood
·      “To know is to teach”
·      Step 5 (Day 54)- Invite a friend or family member to participate in a healthy activity.
·      Teach them the importance of this activity.
·      Share the gift of health.
·      This step must be completed at least once and then can be completed as many times as desired

Habit 6: Synergize- your mind and body must corporate to be successful
·      Step 6 (day 54- 61)- Sleep- 7-8 hours of sleep is vital for living a healthy lifestyle
o   Recovery
o   Hormone balance
o   Focus
·      Create a sleep schedule and stick to it for 7 days straight
o   Set a bed time that will allow for 7-8 hours of sleep
·      Continue this step throughout the entire 90 days and beyond

Habit 7: Sharpen your saw
·      Step 7 (Day 62- 90)- Chose a health/ fitness book and read it.

Created by: Scott Larkin, ATC, CSCS, CPT


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