Archive | April, 2015

Getting Healthier By The Day

6 Apr

Getting Healthier By The Day

Tim Skwiat, MEd, CSCS, Pn1

Recently, one of my clients offered some truly sage advice when she shared her recipe for health and fitness success: Getting Healthier By The Day. This approach—this mindset, this attitude—is a key component to a sustainable long-term, successful journey to improved health, body composition, and performance. Getting healthier by the day:

  • Highlights action (i.e., what can you do right now, today)
  • Emphasizes the variables within your control: your attitude and behaviors
  • Encourages a proactive mindset
  • Focuses attention on behavior-based goals
  • Highlights progress, not perfection
  • Encourages self-compassion
  • Emphasizes a sustainable, habit-based approach
  • Promotes awareness and mindfulness

The “Getting Healthier By The Day” mindset is really cool because it highlights action, and it emphasizes the variables within your control: your behaviors and your attitudes. It also helps you take on a more proactive attitude overall, instead of relying on being reactive. Along these lines, when we talk about goals, it’s important to distinguish between outcome- and behavior-based goals.

Outcome-based goals (e.g., lose ‘x’ pounds) specify what we’d like to happen at the end of a certain time period. Generally speaking, outcomes are usually out of our control. On the other hand, behavior-based goals are typically within our full control, and they specify what actions must be taken to get to the desired outcome. From an exercise standpoint, you might have a behavior-based goal of exercising for 45 minutes five times per week. From a nutrition standpoint, the following “cheat sheet” identifies some of the most important “behaviors” of good nutrition that you might practice:

5 Habits on Highly Effective Nutrition Plans: Cheat Sheet

This mindset is also key because it highlights progress, not perfection. In other words, good nutrition and being healthy is not about perfection; it’s about improvement. It’s about the process—the journey. It’s about making the best, wise choices, as often as possible. It’s about living with purpose and getting up each day being your “best self,” with integrity, and it’s about being self-compassionate and kind to yourself. It’s about pursuing health and wellness.

The “Getting Healthier By The Day” mindset encourages a habit-based approach, which is sustainable and breeds success. In his book, The Power of Less, author Leo Babauta demonstrates the power and importance of taking things one step at a time. Specifically, Babauta conducted some informal behavior change experiments, and he found that:

  • If he assigned himself one practice/task/habit, he could do it consistently 85% of the time, which is very good.
  • If he assigned himself two new practices at a time, his success rate dropped dramatically, down to 35%.
  • If he assigned himself three or more new practices at a time, he was barely able to do anything!

The take-home point is, for lasting change, it’s crucial to focus on one small thing at a time. If possible, it’s often best to make it a daily practice. The more conscious you are of your “task,” the more likely you are to be mindful of it and stick with it.

This attitude promotes a nonjudgmental awareness that encourages progress and growth. Awareness—paying attention to what is happening and why—allows us to:

  • Gain control
  • Lower stress and frustration
  • Prevent bad decisions before they happen, rather than feeling guilty afterward
  • Learn what we like and don’t like, what our “triggers” are, and how to work proactively
  • Recognize that we’re human
  • Bring out our best selves

Embrace the “Getting Healthier By The Day” attitude, and take control of your health, nutrition, and body transformation journey. As yourself, “What’s one thing that I can do today, right now, to improve my health, fitness, and performance?”

Feel free to share below. I look forward to supporting you in your efforts!