Time goes fast. It is already 2018. Another new year! What about your good intentions? Do you have good intentions? Did you wait until January 1 to start with this or will you immediately start using it once you have thought of something? What I often see when people with good intentions start on January 1 (or 2) is that people do this with an ‘all-or-nothing’ approach. Everything must be completely different right away and if at some point it no longer works, people will just stop doing it completely. Recognizable?
I can already tell you that an ‘all-or-nothing’ approach usually does not work and certainly not in the field of sports and diets. You have for years created all kinds of habits that have become unconscious. Awareness is therefore step one anyway. Furthermore, it is also important that you are kind to yourself and that you should not expect too much from yourself in one go. You want to change habits and they are very persistent. My advice is to do this step by step and reward yourself if you have succeeded for a certain period.
Remuneration scheme / habit scheme
Small children are often given stickers as a reward when they have done something good. Since we all also have a child in us, we will also apply this system to ourselves. As an example I take the simplest example that there is, namely to exercise more regularly. How many times a week do you exercise now? Suppose you do sport anywhere between zero and four times a week, but you actually want to make it consistently three times a week. The first goal is to keep this up for four consecutive weeks.
What you do: you take a nice leaf and you draw a table on it. In the first column you put week one, week two, and so on. In the first row you put training one, training two and training three. You also come up with a reward for yourself if you have been exercising three times a week for four consecutive weeks. Think of buying something nice for yourself, pampering yourself with… (a day at the sauna, bunch of flowers, eating out) or doing something nice with your family / family / friends. You hang this beautiful leaf in a place in your house where you come every day and see it every day. Think of the fridge door, on the toilet or next to your mirror.
Apply the habit scheme
So now you really get started with sports. Every time you have exercised, put a check mark (or stick a sticker) on the table. If you have been able to put three checkmarks for four consecutive weeks, you can reward yourself with your previously agreed reward. It can of course happen that you already see that in week two you do not make it three times. This does not mean that everything is messed up. From the moment you see that it is not feasible, you start again with those four weeks. You do not have to complete the other four weeks first. Please be kind to yourself.
This schedule is of course also possible with other behaviors. What is important is that it is behavior. If losing weight is your goal, it is of course difficult to put in such a schedule. Consider which behavior is going to help you lose weight. Apply the schedule to this. Oh, and please don’t be too strict on yourself to do certain things seven days a week. Specific examples are:
- Three days a week to work by bike
- Eating a piece of fruit four days a week in the afternoon
- No more looking at my phone four days a week after 9 p.m.
- Take the time to breakfast three days a week
And of course there are many more examples to think of. What are your good intentions and how will you achieve this? I will start using my telephone.