Practical tips for a healthier 2013: Get fit by doing less

Originally Featured in the Boston Globe: 12/31/2012


Instead of completely overhauling your diet and exercise plan, or resolving to vaguely work out more to get in better shape this year, I challenge you to do less! Start small. Don’t overwhelm yourself.

The ability to sustain change significantly decreases when you try to develop too many new habits at once. So this year, establish one ultimate long-term goal, and then adopt a new small change each month that will lead you to your goal.

For example, if you want to lose 20 pounds of fat by the end of 2013, in January you might start with a goal of exercising 10 times this month, which comes out to roughly twice a week. Once that behavior becomes a habit, then you layer on something else the next month.

In February you’d still keep up the 10 workouts, but also establish a new action, like having a cup of vegetables with each meal. So as March rolls around, you’ve exercised 20 times over the past two months, and getting those veggies in has become second nature.

Next, you might be ready to walk the several flights of stairs each day to your office instead of taking the elevator.

Before you know it, you’ve developed all these wonderful habits that have become ingrained in your behaviors and will lead you to more meaningful and permanent lifestyle changes. Allowing yourself to really focus on and master one change at a time will help you adhere to your plan and achieve your goal. - RYAN HEALY, TRAINER