Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

How to change bad habits

making a list

Bad habits often compromise a healthy lifestyle. No matter what your bad habit is, you can tackle it by identifying your weaknesses changing your mind’s focus.  Take a moment and use these tips on how to change bad habits.

Identifying Bad Habits

First, identify your bad habits and what keeps you from changing them:

  • Make a list of your good and bad habits. Recognize those habits you would like to change.
  • Organize a plan when cravings for bad habits return. Know how you will handle these cravings. If possible, try to avoid them.
  • Recognize the barriers that will keep you from changing your bad habits. Avoid situations and people that will cause you to resort to performing your bad habits.

Break the Cycle and Change Your Behavior

Depending on what your bad habit is, a number of tricks can help you break the cycle. For example:

  • Avoid using food or other substances (smoking, drinking, etc.) to comfort yourself. Instead, use other, less damaging techniques such as listening to soothing music or chewing gum.
  • Avoid sugary drinks. Keep bottles of water at home and at work. If you don’t like drinking plain water, try flavored, but make sure you select a low- or no-sugar option.
  • If you just can’t stop slouching, set a timer on your watch for every few minutes. Use the alarm as a reminder to check your posture and sit or stand up straight. Keep lengthening the time intervals as you get better at keeping your posture a priority.

What bad habit do you plan to kick?  

Interested in helping your employees make healthy habits?  Download our whitepaper to learn how to incorporate exercise into your wellness program for employees. 

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Topics: nutrition corporate wellness behavior modification employee wellness

5 Tips for Sticking to Your New Year's Resolutions

setting smart goals resized 600First and foremost, let’s make some things clear about resolutions. When you make a resolution, you have to remember that it is not just a commitment for January 1; it is for 365 days. Make sure from the beginning it is something that is a long-term goal and a change you want to see. If it is something you have repeatedly tried to do each year, it may be time to reevaluate and come up with a different strategy this year. Otherwise, you will set yourself up to fail.

Don’t be the object of the new year’s resolution jokes. Come into the new year with the mindset that resolutions are achievable if you set yourself up for success. Here are some ways that you can do this.

Make Your Resolutions SMART Goals

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time bound:

  • Specific: Make resolutions clear, concise, and well-defined.
  • Measurable: Make sure you have a way to measure your progress and success. Goals should have time frames, dates, amounts, and other quantifiable numbers.
  • Attainable/realistic: Your goal should be something that is manageable, and something you believe you can succeed in reaching.
  • Time bound: Have a starting point and an end point. Resolutions that will take place over the entire year should be broken down into short-term and longer-term goals.

Choose the Right Resolutions

If you decide to do something, it has to be something that you want to do. Pick something that has meaning behind it for you personally. Oftentimes resolutions come from outside sources and pressures. If the idea originates with you, you’re more likely to commit.

Stick Your Resolutions with Existing Habits

The easier you make the habit, the more likely you are to stick to it. If your resolution is to take a vitamin every day, put the vitamin container next to your toothbrush that you use each morning. Make the new habit part of an existing one.

Give Yourself a Trial Run

Try your resolution for at least 21 days (it takes at least this long to create a habit). Give yourself these days as a trial period. This will give you some room to make mistakes and tweak your goal to make it more realistic.

Measure Your Progress

Many of us get frustrated and give up on resolutions because we have tunnel vision to the end result, which may take all 365 days to achieve. If your resolutions and goals are smart, it should be easy to track the progress you are making, which will help keep you motivated. 

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Topics: motivation behavior modification goal setting new year New Year's Resolutions in Action

NIFS Nutrition News: Making Resolutions Stick

2013By June 2013 only 46% of people will still be sticking to the resolutions they vowed to keep as the ball dropped and we said goodbye to 2012.  A recent study showed that the three most popular resolutions are finding more family and friend time, increasing or starting an exercise program, and trying to lose weight.  The tips below will help you stick to those resolutions so they will last all year long.

1. Spend more time with family and friends:

Say “no” to commitments that are not a priority.  Schedule weekly family time into your planner.  Play games, sit down at the dinner table together, and ask everyone about their day.  Make it a priority.  Also, aim for more time with friends.  Start a book club, meet for a walk or a cup of coffee, check out a new restaurant.  Make it a recurring event like the second Tuesday of the month, so it is easy to plan into your schedule.

2. Fit in fitness: 

Have a positive attitude when it comes to exercise.  Think of it as time you will have to yourself for the day, a way to boost your energy level, or simply a break from the stress of the New Year.  Make the most of the time you have allotted for exercise.  Include high intensity cardiovascular activities, resistance training, and stretching. Add activity into your busy day by taking the stairs, parking farther away, walking the dog, shoveling snow, and hand delivering a message to a co-worker instead of calling or emailing them.

3. Drop the weight:

Set small, realistic goals when it comes to weight loss.  A reduction of only 500 calories per day is a smart goal to set and is the equivalent of 1 pound of fat loss per week.  Do this by cutting out regular sodas or calorie-heavy beverages like flavored coffee and juices.  Swap vending machine snacks like candy bars and chips for fresh fruit, fat free yogurt, string cheese, and cut up veggies.  When eating out, decrease portions by taking half of the entrée home.  Each week try to tackle a new goal.  Keep adding new goals throughout the spring, summer, and fall!

 

Fresh starts like the New Year are a perfect opportunity to better ourselves.  Take your resolution seriously this year and work on these goals to improve your quality of life. Did you miss our NIFS Fitness Management Staff Resolutions blog?  Check it out here!

Topics: behavior modification NIFS goal setting new year resolutions New Year's Resolutions in Action NIFS family health

Improve Employee Health with Behavior Modification

This blog was written by Jenna Pearson. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

late night binge eating, stages of changes, behavior modification, nifsHabits are hard to break. This is especially true when it comes to your health. It’s very easy to fall into routines of not exercising, late-night snacking, eating out, watching several hours of television, and so on. In addition to diet and exercise-related health rituals, other behaviors that can be detrimental to health and similarly very hard to break free of include smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, excessive caffeine consumption, and self-loathing (or having a negative self-image)…and we all know how hard those can be to overcome!

Steps to Behavior Modification

In order to achieve permanent success in behavior modification, one must realize that it takes time. In fact, psychologists have outlined five Stages of Change that are used to identify how ready an individual is to tackle his or her negative health behaviors. These stages include

  • Precontemplation
  • Contemplation
  • Preparation
  • Action
  • Maintenance

Notice that the first three stages are all centered around getting ready and realizing the need for change, whereas the last two focus on actually changing the behavior and maintaining the change. This is a long-term process; success will not—and should not—happen overnight. Truth be told, change is something we all need time to warm up to.

Modifying Your Behavior with Goals

One of the most successful interventions in modifying behavior is goal setting. The entire process encourages gradual change. If proper procedures are used, goal setting can serve to increase energy, effort, and focus.

One of the main reasons goal setting works in behavior modification is that the process creates a never-ending chain of events. In setting goals, you identify obstacles, which help you secure commitment to your goals, which helps you develop an action plan, which—once started—offers feedback on goal attainment, which helps you evaluate goal attainment, which leads to reinforcement of goal attainment, which allows you to set new goals when you are ready!

Topics: employee health tobacco cessation behavior modification smoking