A few months back I decided it was time to lose some weight and get into better shape. I have always been active and worked out on a regular basis, but I wasn’t as consistent as I knew I should be. I looked into a program my neighbor belongs to and decided to also enroll.
January 3, 2022 was the start of my new fitness program—not because it was the start of a new year, but because I woke up and decided it was time. The program runs in 8-week segments and provides a workout plan and a meal plan. It’s designed for all fitness levels, can be done at home, and everything (plans, live/recorded workouts, nightly talks, Q&A, etc.) is shared through a private Facebook group. And I was frequently reminded that this was not simply a “program”; rather, this was a journey of new habits that would prove to be (supposedly) transformational.
Habits…changing them can be tough. Really tough. Why? Because they feel warm and squishy, comfortable, easy, and part of our engrained routine. However, they also bring about guilt and regret sometimes, especially when the habit is one that you have wanted to change. All habits are clearly not created equal. Some have little impact on your life, and others, referred to as “keystone habits,” can affect your life immensely. Keystone habits are very different from regular habits, like posting a daily message on multiple social media platforms. A regular habit is a positive thing to do, but whether you choose to do it or skip it, it doesn’t have a huge impact on the rest of your life. By contrast, a keystone habit, like consistently exercising five or six days per week, is a habit that can also lead to other positive, unintended outcomes like:
- Stronger and more flexible body
- Enhanced mood
- Decreased level of stress
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Enhanced productivity
- Improved quality of sleep
- Heightened brain function
When you choose to make keystone habits a non-negotiable part of your routine, you change. You take more control of your life and the positive ripple effect naturally occurs. It can be…transformational.
What habit or behavior are you wanting to change in your life, and why do you want to do it? It should be meaningful to you, it also has to be something that you believe in, that you value, that you want to get behind and commit to. You have to know the work ahead of you will be worth it.
Do you want to go back to school and earn a diploma or degree?
Do you want to feel happier?
Do you want a job you enjoy?
Do you want to make more money?
Do you want to find love?
Do you want to stop smoking?
Do you want to be more confident?
Do you want to say “no” more often?
Do you want to laugh more?
Let’s revisit the behavior I wanted to change: Lose some weight and get into better shape. This was definitely a loose and undefined goal, and one that I quickly fine-tuned.
I am proud to say that after following the program for eight weeks, I exceeded my fitness goal! I lost 12 pounds, shed a lot of fat, and added some lean muscle. Equally important—I am in the best shape of my life and am feeling better about warmer weather quickly approaching. But the benefits of this keystone habit didn’t stop there. I’m not only eating much healthier, but I have also dramatically decreased my sugar intake. I stopped drinking [diet] soda, decreased my alcohol consumption, and now workout consistently six days per week—mixed with cardio and weight-training. Plus, I drink a gallon of water per day. Yes, you read correctly! At least one gallon of water every day. I’m stronger, more flexible, haven’t experienced a migraine in eight weeks, my stress is less, I sleep great, my productivity increased and I’m even happier than I was before. In all honesty, my muscles are sore on a regular basis, but that should be a given, right? Just in case you’re curious, the amazing and transformational program that I joined is: E2M Fitness. Check it out!
So what habit or behavior do you want to change to help you get one step closer to becoming your greatest self?
Aim for awesomeness. Strive for spectacular. And allow yourself some wiggle room for slips and trips. It’s all about progress, not perfection. Instead of thinking, “Unfit and frumpy in my fifties,” it sure feels incredible to chant in my head, “Fit and feeling fabulous at fifty-four!”