Written By: IML Fitness and Healthy Lifestyle Contributor, Health Coach Ashleigh Magee
As we start the new year, conversations around goals in 2021 and New Year’s resolutions have started to pop up. While it’s normal to see #goals this time of year, I think people will be putting extra pressure on themselves to improve from 2020. From work from home weight gain to just generally wanting 2021 to be a better year, I expect we’ll see a lot of health-related resolutions.
And listen – I am ALL ABOUT people improving their health…it’s what I do! However, we all know that those resolutions tend to drop off by March because it’s hard to keep going when life happens. As a coach, the number one excuse I hear is that people don’t have time to be healthy, and that’s why they fail.
I understand feeling like you can’t fit one more moment into your life. At the beginning of my health journey, I was working 6am-7pm, and if I saw the sun it was a good day. However, I think we all hit a point where we can’t stand living another day in the life and the body that we’re in, and that’s when we re-prioritize and make changes.
The hard truth is, everyone can fit health into their life, regardless of how hectic it is. I want to help you keep those 2021 goals, so I’m going to show you how!
Apply the 4 Laws of Habit Change
In order to have lasting health, you need to create new habits that serve you! I use the 4 Laws of Habit Change when I’m coaching because it’s a system that is proven to work! You can learn more by checking out Atomic Habits by James Clear
The 4 Laws of Habit Change are:
1. Make it obvious
2. Make it easy
3. Make it attractive
4. Make it satisfying
I’m going to break down each law and show you how to use it to create healthy habits.
1st Law – Make it Obvious
This law focuses on creating awareness in your current habits. Simply put, you cannot change what you do not know. In this law, you also need to decide where we want to go. You can apply this law by:
- Tracking your time.
How much time do you spend on your phone or scrolling social media? How much tv do you watch? How long is your commute?
- Listing your habits.
Do you stress eat? What is the first thing you do when you come home from work? What is your bedtime routine like?
- Goal setting.
What do you want? Why is that important to you? What will reaching that goal do for your life? What will happen if you do not meet that goal?
Once you’ve gotten clear on your current habits and your goals, decide what habits or activities are not getting you closer to your goals. Additionally, decide what new habits you need to make non-negotiable to get you where you want to be.
2nd Law – Make it Easy
With this law, it’s important to remove barriers or points of friction to your success. When you’re creating new habits, you want to make it as easy as possible to minimize potential excuses.
Here are some of my favorite ways to apply this law:
- Schedule and plan out your workouts and meals.
- For workouts, schedule them for a time you have the most control over and are less likely to get interrupted (typically early mornings).
- Choose meals that are simple and have easy leftovers.
- Meal prep (no this does NOT need to be an all-day event!)
- Set out workout clothes the night before (and put your gym bag in your car).
3rd Law – Make it Attractive
This law focuses on creating accountability so you are more likely to follow through. You can:
- Find a workout buddy.
I especially love when you find someone who is more knowledgeable than you in a certain fitness area. I first learned how to strength train from my workout buddies.
- Hire a coach/trainer/dietitian.
Having an expert to guide you, but also hold you accountable can be a game-changer when it comes to your health. One of the top struggles my clients have before working with me is lack of accountability.
- Join a team/club.
Do you have a sport you love? Is there a gym that creates a sense of community near you? How about a running/swimming/cycling club? These are all great options to both increase accountability and make the new habit more desirable.
4th Law – Make it Satisfying
Lastly, this law emphasizes the need to celebrate our successes and feel satisfied by our progress. Implementing these changes will help you stay motivated and on track. Some ways to make it satisfying are:
- Track your workouts, and never let yourself miss twice in a row.
- Sometimes life happens, or you need a rest day. That’s ok, just don’t miss two days in a row.
- You can also track the number of repetitions you do or how heavy your weights are to see your strength improve over time.
- Reward yourself for each week on track with something that is in alignment with your goals (massage, a hobby you enjoy, etc)
- Track your progress: take pictures/measurements at the start and then once per month moving forward
- Ditch that scale! When your body composition is changing, your weight is NOT an accurate representation of your health! You can drop a dress size and weigh the same when you are doing things like building muscle.
Using this system, I’ve helped each and every one of my clients lose weight, get stronger, and learn how to love their bodies and themselves. They’ve been active duty, deployed, single moms, military spouses, and veterans.
You do have time to live a healthy life – you just have to decide whether or not it’s actually a priority for you. While I’ve given you some steps to take to get started, if you want a proven plan to follow, including workouts, simple and delicious meals, and coaching from someone that actually understands your life, I would love for you to check out my group coaching program.
You don’t have to stay stuck anymore!
To recap – you can live a healthier life by incorporating small habit changes. I use the 4 Laws of Habit Change which are:
1. Make it obvious (Create Awareness)
2. Make it easy (Remove Barriers)
3. Make it attractive (Accountability)
4. Make it satisfying (Track and Reward)
Lastly, if you want a specific place to start, check out my free guide “5 Ways to Immediately Improve Your Health.”