90 Days of Action Towards Your Best LIFE. No Excuse™.
This new year brings with it the desire to leave the previous behind and start anew perhaps more than usual. But what does that really mean for you?
You’ve probably done the New Year’s Resolution thing before. Maybe you’ve even had some success with it but, if like most, your resolutions inevitably fall by the wayside within a number of weeks once default routines take hold.
No matter what your goals are for this year, the most important thing you can do in order to give yourself the best chance at achieving them is to routinely practice the actions that will achieve those goals over time.
If one of your goals is to be healthier this year and you want that change to be long-lasting, you need to build the skills and habits necessary to achieve that through your daily actions.
Where should you start?
First, you’ll need an understanding of the fundamentals of what is necessary to achieve optimal health.
At Innovative Fitness, we believe there are five core areas of health (often referred to as the “Five Spheres of Wellness”) :
I’m going to cover each area, briefly below.
There are several different components that contribute to your physical health, but the core fundamentals are movement, nutrition, and rest.
The human body functions best when its basic needs are met in these three areas and the hard truth is, most of us don’t consistently give our bodies the love they thrive on. That love should come in the form of regularly moving our bodies through a wide variety of patterns, challenging our muscular and cardiovascular systems, keeping fueled with a wide variety of nutrient-rich whole foods, and getting 7-9 hours of high quality sleep each night.
Living our best lives doesn’t mean just thriving physically though. To truly live our best life we must thrive in all of the areas that contribute to our overall well-being.
Our emotional health can drive our physical health and vice-versa.
For most people, emotional and spiritual well-being can be fairly synonymous or – at the very least – entwined. There are a few practices that have been shown to positively impact emotional/spiritual well-being. These practices can come in the form of meditation, mindfulness, gratitude, prayer, spiritual study, and journaling, to name a few. Which one(s) to focus on is a question of what will bring YOU closer to thriving on an emotional level.
With emotional balance comes a clearer state of mind. One that’s better equipped to receive and remember new information. It also helps us draw more effective conclusions by creating an environment where we are able to combine different pieces of information from various sources.
Some people will say that this is the difference between simply being knowledgeable and being wise.
So if we’re creating a state of mind that’s more receptive to intellectual growth, we should do what we can to take advantage of that, whether it be by reading a book, watching a documentary or TED Talk, listening to a podcast, or anything else that stimulates your mind.
In his book Why We Sleep, Matthew Walker, PhD, talks about how different stages of sleep help to positively impact our working memory, our ability to shift short-term memories to long-term memories, rebalance our emotional state, and thus allow us to turn knowledge into wisdom.
You might be wondering how social health impacts physical health. Fair question.
Researchers who study the world’s “Blue Zones” (the regions of the world that have above-average life expectancies) found that one of the most significant contributing factors to longevity is the strength of social connections. Yes, your social connectedness (not only the number of connections you have, but the quality of those connections) can literally impact how long you live.
If you’re still following along, you should be starting to see the full picture: ALL of these areas are deeply interconnected. It is nearly impossible to thrive in one area without also addressing the others.
Ready to start? Hang on. Don’t attempt to change everything at once.
When you try to make a number of significant changes in your life all at once it almost always ends the same way: reverting back to your original routines and behaviours. Sometimes this happens on Day 1, other times it happens after a few weeks, but almost always it ends up this way.
When it comes to making change, we need to be strategic.
I’m a big believer in finding the minimum effective dose of change in behaviour that will still drive the outcomes we’re looking for. The smaller the change feels, the more likely we are to stick to it.
So if we’re talking about improving physical health, this could be something as simple as committing to taking the stairs every day instead of the elevator, or going for a walk every day after dinner. It could be committing to eating vegetables at every meal, or eating slowly so that you don’t irritate your digestive system. For emotional/spiritual health this could mean committing to 5 minutes of meditation, journaling, or prayer each day.
We can apply this idea of finding the “minimum effective dose” in each of the areas of health and set a plan for daily practice. Once something becomes habitualized, you can either add another component or “turn up the dial” on the component that you already added (IE go for a longer walk, or do 10 minutes of journaling instead of 5, etc.)
The key is consistency. You should be taking some small action towards your goals every day.
For most people, it is highly beneficial to have some kind of accountability system in place.
The concept is relatively simple, which is the key to its effectiveness.
For 90 days, you practice the skills and behaviours that move you towards better health.
Every. Single. Day.
Over that period, with some added guidance and accountability from your IF coach, those daily actions become habits that can last a lifetime.
Your coach will work with you to help you select the daily practices that will help move the needle in each of the areas of health, and then provide you with regular accountability to execute those daily practices. When you’re ready to turn up the dial, your coach will be there to help you navigate that process as well!
NO EXCUSE 90 participants will come out the other side having spent the first quarter of their year not only building the skills they need, but also taking positive daily action towards achieving their health goals.
*At participating locations.
Blog Credit: Sean Allt