More often than not, the new year comes with a lot of lifestyle changes. Alongside this, however, comes those individuals who simply do not know where to start. This is a common obstacle and in order to help kick off the new year on the right foot (or to help those in your life who are looking to do so!), I’ve compiled a list of simple, yet effective habit changes that everyone should master when looking to make bigger changes over time.
The Diet: Track your food
We knew this would be listed first, and it’s for good reason. Before doing an overhaul of your diet or making any drastic changes to what you’re eating, you first need to know how much you’re actually consuming on a daily basis. Not only is this going to teach you more about true portion sizes, how to track your food, and how much you need (or don’t need) on the daily, but this also gives you a starting point. From here, you can move forward making educated decisions based on what your goals are (i.e., weight loss, muscle gain, maintenance/lifestyle habits, etc.). I also suggest getting some weigh-ins during this initial process in order to see trends in how you’re responding!
Focus on protein
Not only is it imperative to get an idea of how much you’re eating, but it’s also important to know how much protein you’re getting. I will proudly be a broken record when I say (over and over again) that no matter the individual, their goals, or level of experience, everyone can benefit from getting more protein in their day to day. Or, at the very least, just making sure you’re simply getting 3-4 protein feedings spaced throughout your day is a great goal to set as well.
More often than not, we see so many people failing to get protein in their diets whether that’s because they don’t think about it much, don’t know which sources to choose from, aren’t educated on its importance, and so on. Getting enough protein will allow you to maintain the lean body mass you have, support the growth and repair of new muscle, and aid in any physique enhancement-related goals you’re working towards.
Like I mentioned with the diet, you don’t have to go from 0-100 overnight. An easy way you can incorporate more movement into your lifestyle would be to start walking! Walking is a simple thing you can add into your day to day.
- Take a midday break to get a walk in
- Park farther away from entrances when out and about
- Use the stairs more
- Get up and move more throughout your day if you work a sedentary job
Now if your goal is to get in the gym and start up a new program, I would make sure to go at a pace that you can handle. So, don’t jump in and instantly commit to 6 days/week of training if you’re starting out from nothing. 2-3 days of training is a great starting point! Additionally, getting active in ways that you enjoy most is the best way to get sustain this kind of activity change! Think about it, if you hate running, odds are you won’t stick with that very long. Forcing something we don’t enjoy just leads to burnout and resenting the process. Best bet here is to start small, choose something you can be consistent with, build that confidence up, and progress from there!
Here’s what NOT to do in 2021…
There’s a lot of things we can talk about when it comes to the “new year, new me” bandwagon, but I’ll try to keep this short and to the point. Just like I mentioned above with setting your sights on important, foundational habits, there are also things we don’t want to place our attention towards or waste our time on. These include:
– “Quick fix” programs or any other popular fad diet
As we know, these are touted as fast ways to drop some weight, but they also often result in even fasterweight regain. Not to mention, they teach us nothing about maintaining that weight loss after the plan is done. If you want to learn more, check out my article on weight relapse here!
– Unrealistic expectations
I get it. Starting a new year with new goals is exciting! Motivation is high and you’re ready to go, but try to take a step back and honestly evaluate the goals you’re setting and the timelines you want to achieve them in.
As a coach, a very common thing I see is that we often underestimate how big long-term goals actually are and how much time needs to go towards them. For example, a client may come to me explaining their short-term goals, but from my eyes, those “short term goals” actually seem longer term. This can become an issue and can often lead to the client feeling burnt out or frustrated that they haven’t gotten a six pack within the first 4 weeks of the year*.
*A bit of an exaggerated example, but you know what I mean.
Know that you’ll likely slip up or have some off days. This is perfectly normal! Messing up is a part of the process and you can’t expect that you’ll be operating at 100% at all times. This is no reason to throw in the towel either. Consistency matters most when making long term changes, so if you go off plan, simply get back to it the next day! That reestablishes your consistency, eliminates the possibility of having an entire week off plan, and gets you in the habit of reverting back to that positive routine.
We hope you all have a wonderful start to the new year!