Today I’m going to tell you about the main errors made by people starting a health kick.
A new year begins and with it resolutions that we set out for ourselves, often which never come to fruition.
Obviously, eating better, working out or getting more rest are some of the most «made» resolutions every January.
However, in most cases, we end up throwing in the towel before we even get to spring. In today’s article, we’ll look at 3 of the most common mistakes and how to avoid them or solve them to keep our purposes afloat.
Looking for a radical change
Surely, this is the «star» mistake when it comes to resolutions.
After years of ingrained habits, we want to take that 180º turn, just because we’ve changed our calendar.
So, we go from not exercising at all to wanting to train every day, from consuming ultra-processed food daily to taking it off our shopping list for life.
In this way, we’re only putting an expiration date on our resolution – a minimum time is required to establish a habit.
Of course, not all habits will take us the same time, as some may take us 2 weeks (e.g. drinking a glass of water as soon as we wake up) to several months (e.g. running 10 km every day).
What should we do then? It’s simple, we must adapt this new habit into our daily life.
A very simple way is to cross out in the calendar the days that we’ve fulfilled our resolution.
- In general, the first month we can consider a success if we do it 2-3 times per week, rising to 3-5 from the second month.
- Trying to go from a diet of ultra-processed food to eating only quality food 24/7 will only lead to a feeling of failure..
Setting unspecific long-term goals
Another mistake when it comes to getting healthy is to set goals that are not measurable, or that will take very long time to reach..
For example, saying: «I want to lose weight this year».
This doesn’t tell us anything as we’re not setting a goal. It would be better as:
- How much do you want to lose?
- In how much time?
- Is 5kg a lot or little?
- Is it an achievable goal?
All these doubts are hanging over us if we’re not being specific, so we need to establish a specific objective, one that allows us to evaluate if we’re approaching or moving away from what we’ve planned.
Moving from one end to the other requires progress, not «catching up»…
To this, we should add that in most cases we should set the objectives for long periods of time.
If I say: «I want to lose 10kg this year», most people will just postpone healthy eating or going to the gym, thinking: «There’s still enough of year left to do that».
If we want to lose 10kg in a year, we can divide the year in periods of 3 months, or 4 months, and at the end of each one we need to have reached a goal.
Continuing with the previous objective (to lose 10kg in a year), we can say that every four months we want to lose 3kg.
Setting several habits at the same time
Often when a person wants to start living a healthy lifestyle, they look to make several habit changes simultaneously.
Although it may seem the opposite, trying to change several habits simultaneously is not a good idea, because as we’ve seen before, establishing a new habit is something that requires time, and, above all, is done unconsciously.
If we decide to make many changes simultaneously, the only thing we’ll achieve will be greater fatigue by having to be focused on changing all the different things around us.
On top, in many cases, changing one habit can affect other habits that we’re trying to establish.
So, quitting smoking and eliminating the ultra-processed foods will only make us more anxious, irritable and, therefore, more reluctant to making the change as we’ll associate it with a poor state of mind.
My recommendation therefore is that you start by investing your attention on one habit until it becomes mechanical.
Once you’ve done that, move on to the next change you want to make.
In summary, as you can see, establishing a healthy lifestyle is something that takes time, dedication and above all effort.
Eating a salad at dinner or going for a run one week does not necessarily mean that we have already achieved our goal – it’s much easier to pick up an old habit than to establish a new one.
A big hug!
- We tell you about the dangers of Sedentary Habits in this link.
- If you’ve ever asked why you don’t lose weight eating healthily, we tell you why here.