There’s a lot of focus this National Nutrition Month® on making changes to our nutrition and fitness habits. So where do you start when you want to make change in your life? I’ve created a Mandy-original helpful acronym to help get you out. When it comes to having a successful, healthy life with your partner, you need to PAVE™ the Way for Success!
PLANNING- When we are forced to make last-minute decisions, we panic and often go with the most convenient option or skip making a decision altogether. This occurs a lot when it comes to nutrition and fitness. For example, if you have a long day at work and go to the gym or elsewhere immediately after, you may be tempted to pick up a take-out meal on the way home. If you and your significant other plan your week in advance, you could have dinner waiting for you or a quick meal to prepare when either of you get home- just don’t forget to discuss who’s responsible for what roles.
- Plan which day and class times you each are going to attend a fitness class or prepare a certain meal to establish a schedule for yourselves.
- Plan your weekly menu so you both know what you’re eating and when.
- Keep gym clothes in your car to eliminate the excuse of not having time to go home and change.
- Lists, calendars, planners, and apps are your best friends when it comes to PLANNING!
ACCOUNTABILITY- You are responsible for YOU. If you eat something you wish you hadn’t or miss a workout, take responsibility and determine how to fix the situation. In the words of Jon Taffer, embrace solutions not excuses. Tell your significant other about what you hope to achieve, or what change you’re looking to make. If someone else knows about it, they can keep you true to your goals.
- For example, tell your significant other you want to start adding a salad to dinner each night and have them remind you about this goal, both when the salad appears and when it doesn’t. Create a way to track your progress so that you can see if you’re meeting this goal. Put an “S” on your calendar every day you have a salad with dinner, and see your progress over the next month.
The more people you add to your accountability network, the more likely you are to stick with your goals because now they’re all keeping you honest.
VERBALIZATION- When we verbalize our goals and intentions, they become more of a reality as opposed to a wish. Share your goals, successes, and yes, even your failures with your partner and others.
This helps create a support system and a network of people to help you achieve your goals. While this implies speaking your goals, it also helps to write them down and keep them in a place where you (and others) can frequently be reminded of what you hope to achieve for yourself.
ENVIRONMENT- Become an environmental engineer. Put yourself in an environment that is conducive to change, not fighting it. Consider your physical and social surroundings. You’ll be surprised- you may even be the catalyst for change with your significant other and among your networks!
- Take a look at your fridge/pantry and remove those items you don’t want to be tempted with.
- Remove the candy bowl from your desk at work.
- Take a different route to work/school so you don’t stop for take-out.
- Your significant other should be supportive of any change you intend to make. Make sure they know why the change is important to you.
- The people you encounter on a daily basis should be aware of your goals and be positive influences.
- For example, if you have a coworker that always asks you to join them for a 3pm coffee and cookie break, either politely decline or offer an alternative option of going for a walk around the parking lot instead.
- Evaluate your social situations- if you frequent bars/restaurants a lot, consider other options that are more active, such as dancing or bowling, or host a dinner encouraging healthy items be provided.
Above all else, if you don’t have ENTHUSIASM towards the change you intend to make, progress will not happen so make sure YOU are motivated to make any and all changes in your life.
For more information on National Nutrition Month®, nutrition tips, or to find a Registered Dietitian in your area, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
WHAT SUCCESS STORIES HAVE YOU HAD WHEN IT CAME TO MAKING A CHANGE IN YOUR LIFE? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!