January 2017 Focus: Make More Good Choices

My goal is to help you ignite positive lifestyle changes so you are free pursue your life’s adventures. And in 2017, I’m going to do something new. Each month this year, I will present one habit to work on and give you the tools and resources to be successful. Let’s get started.
Does this sound familiar?
“I do really, really good for a while, maybe a few weeks, or months, but then I slip. I sabotage myself, and I may not get back on track for weeks, months, or sometimes years”. As a fitness coach, I hear it all the time.
Today, right now, together, we’re going to take action two simple habits to say good-bye to the #1 perpetrator of your healthy living or weight loss efforts: the all or nothing thinking. 
It’s simple, it’s free, and I invite you to join me in focusing on these two habits for the month of January.

  1. Make more good choices.
  2. Celebrate your successes.

That’s all.
It’s not as sexy as swearing off sugar for the whole month, or going on a fat-loss fast. But I’m not interested in what we can do for 2 weeks or 30 days. I’m interested in sustainable habits. Many of us, when we commit to healthier living, aim for perfection. When we don’t stick to our plan 100%, we let ourselves go way off track, and the cycle repeats.
When you focus on making more good choices, there is no perfect. You can always make another good choice, even if the previous choice was not aligned with your health goals.
For example, lets say you decide that you’re going to ‘eat clean’ when you go to a party. But then a friend offers you a special appy that you simply can’t turn down. And it tastes so good, so you have one more. Many people at this point would simply let themselves go and make the ‘failure’ epic. Why stop at just one off-plan appy when you can down it with a few sugary drinks and a dessert and start with a clean slate on Monday? Instead, you could choose to make one more good choice.
Focus on quantity. Make more good choices. You don’t need to be perfect. Implement. Do. Learn from mistakes. Let them go. And do again.
To reinforce the mindset of making better choices and ditching the diet mentality (because I never want you to go on another diet again!), I also invite you to focus on giving yourself credit and celebrating your successes.
 Did you do your workout? Great- then give yourself credit for that. Did you stay off the scale? Great! Did pack raw veggies to snack on at work? Give yourself a pat on the back. By giving yourself credit, you will build your self-confidence, reduce your stress, and feel good about the choices and the action steps you are making. We never expect perfection, and neither should you.
Quite often, when people self-report (to others or themselves) on their eating or exercise habits, they are quick to highlight the ‘less healthy’ parts. “I had three glasses of wine this weekend”, or “I didn’t do well; I didn’t lose any weight this week”. Focusing on the negative simply reinforces the bad habits, and make us feel like a failure.
The negative talk can spiral into negative thoughts and negative beliefs. You may think that you failed, or you determine your self-worth based on whether or not you had dessert, or if you lost any weight this week. You feel guilty when you indulge, and try to make up for it by running a few extra miles, or skipping your next meal. The goal of eating becomes to consume fewer calories, and exercise becomes a punishment for poor eating.
You’re going to have days when you struggle a little, days when you eat foods that are not on your plan, or you miss a workout. That’s life. Success is not a number on the scale, being 100% compliant to your eating plan, or making every workout. Improvement is success. Recognize when you make any healthy choice, and give yourself credit.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Set an intention. In the success journal I’ve outlined a few examples of intentions you could set for this habit. Ideally, read your intentions daily. I prefer first thing in the morning.
2. Arm yourself with reminders. While it’s easy to commit your intentions first thing in the morning when willpower is high, it’s more difficult to stick to it as the day goes on. Put a few notes around your house, or set an alarm on your smart phone to serve as a reminder.
3. Track it! Keep a success journal and jot down your successes at the end of the day. If you really enjoy tracking, you could also check off each good choice you make in a day.
Let’s do this together!

Thanks For Tuning In!
Click here to learn more about the Ascend Fitness 21 Day Challenge
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Thanks so much for joining me this week. I really look forward to getting to know you in the months to come. If you have a question that you would like answered, or need a bit of extra help in a certain area, please take a moment to email me at [email protected]
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