The New You Issue
Building New Habits: Preparing yourself for the New Year / New You cycle
If you’re like most people, you probably have a habit of making New Year’s resolutions each time the calendar flips. And like most people, there’s a good chance you find your old habits are hard to break. But what’s really important isn’t taking on a monster assignment that’s doomed to failure. What matters more is setting up easy steps that you can manage. Often just getting in the habit of forming new habits is all you really need to do to set up your pre-game for the New Year’s Resolution season.
So rather than sticking with the status quo and riding out December prepared to shock your system after the party, do these instead:
Start in the morning.
Get up half an hour earlier. Studies show that people are at their creative and productive peak first thing in the morning. Plus, giving yourself that extra time can actually help you get through tasks that otherwise might get set aside (like your morning workout). It may mean going to bed a little earlier, but there’s no reason not to. Try it for a month and see how much more you get done.
Drink some water.
Half a litre, or about 16 ounces, of cold water first thing in the morning does wonders for every level of your state of being. You’re actually dehydrated when you get up (after all, eight hours with no water…how do you feel after a day of this?), and this is why you may be feeling run down in the morning. This blast of cold water activates metabolism, improves digestion, and increases energy almost instantly. It may take a few days to get used to it, but once you’re over the hump you’ll wonder why everyone isn’t doing this!
Actually, start the night before.
Take care of time-sucking morning routines as part of your bedtime routine instead. If you have kids, have them pick out their outfits and pack their lunches for the next day. This will save a huge amount of effort and struggle in the morning, and gives them a sense of participation in the decision process (pay attention to the weather forecast though). Do the same for yourself, and get your clothes ready before you go to bed. Like a pot of coffee? Get a coffee maker with a timer on it, and set it to start ten minutes before you get up. This removes making coffee from the morning to-do list.
Actually, start on the weekend.
Prepare your lunches for the week on Sunday night. This has two key advantages: first, it obviously saves you a lot of time in the morning. Second, it gives you control over your food. This means both budget–not eating out is a huge savings–and content. Planning your meals, and getting them out of the way on Sunday night is a snap once you get used to it, so start doing this now.
Make time in your daily routine for exercise.
It doesn’t take a lot of time to conquer your fear of exercise and get the workout you need. In fact, a good solid baseline is 30 minutes, three times a week. We’re not talking about walking on a treadmill here. We’re talking about high-intensity metabolic routines that get your muscles fired up and your metabolism racing. Packing on slabs of muscle and hitting the right targets will burn energy 24 hours a day, boost testosterone levels, and leave you feeling empowered and energized. Our recommended workout system for this goal is the T30 Workout from Prograde Nutrition (especially good if you’re over 30 and want to get your mojo back). If you want to start right away, however, try THIS simple strategy. Start with a few measurements (waist, neck, hip, thigh, shoulder, chest, scale weight), and do it for a few weeks.
Even if you don’t want to get into something that intense, making time for daily exercise is important, so don’t neglect this essential habit.
Practice more efficiency.
This doesn’t necessarily mean training to become efficient to a fault on every little detail of your life. What it means is, you can get more efficient with the “nuisance” tasks and get them out of the way. For example, most toilet bowl cleaners recommend applying, then waiting ten minutes before scrubbing with a toilet brush. So, apply the cleaner then have your shower. Ten minutes later, you’ll get out of the shower, give the toilet a quick swish with the brush, and you’re done! Efficiency really gets soaked when you have to wait for tasks on autopilot (like waiting for the toilet bowl cleaner, for example), so it’s best to find ways to make those things run in the background while you do something that takes roughly the same amount of time. Things like dryer cycles at the laundromat can buy you time to, say, knock out your grocery shopping for the week, or balance your chequebook. If something doesn’t need your constant attention and focus, do something else while it’s running. That way, you’ll get more done in less time.
Set some goals.
Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you want to set some New Year’s resolutions. Good for you. But to be effective, resolutions need to be framed as goals, and they need to be more specific than “make more money” or “lose some weight.” You need targets, and you need a plan. Use the month of December to work through these in some specific areas you might need a tune up on. Some suggestions:
- General Health
- Body Fat Percentage
- Social Life
Throughout the month of December, we’re going to be sharing articles and tips on planning and staying motivated to achieve your personal goals. We urge you to subscribe, if not to the newsletters (which are pretty cool, just so you know) at least to the updates from this site.