4 STEPS TO A BETTER YOU (PART 1/4)
4 STEPS TO A BETTER YOU - PART 1
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Taking control of your health isn’t easy so that’s why we’ve pulled together this simple, 4 step guide towards a better you.
We recommend focusing on one step at a time to start developing habits and making it routine. At the end of each step you will find a challenge, try to master this challenge before moving on to the next step. As you progress through each step you should be better able to maintain the prior challenge as it has become habit.
So starting with step 1...
STEP 1; MOTIVATION
Health shouldn’t be viewed as a temporary thing, it’s about creating habits that stick. Having the motivation to get up and exercise early or say no to chocolate is imperative. But, how do you first create that motivation?
We believe there are two crucial tools;
A) Make SMART Goals
SMART goal setting has been proven time and time again as a great approach to self-improvement, with the framework often being used in a professional development environment. There is of course no reason why such an approach doesn’t merit itself within your health and wellbeing too. What exactly do we mean by SMART?
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Realistic
T – Timely (i.e. Timebound)
Before beginning your journey towards better health make sure you first set your goals using this framework. You will then have a set of goals that you can measure and track against over time, and (hopefully) see improvement. The ability to make this connection is key as it reinforces the positive behaviour changes you will have made in your life.
So how can you go about setting SMART goals? Here are a few nuggets of inspiration to start;
- Why not first try this easy,heart age calculator to get an idea of what shape you are in. If you don’t know your cholesterol levels you can leave them blank for now, or take an easy, home test to refine. The calculator looks at various basic biomarkers to give you an estimated age on your heart - obviously the lower the better. You could start with your overall goal being to reduce your heart age by 10-20% (depending on how high it is). Components of this score such as weight, BMI, smoking status, and cholesterol levels are all variables within your control, so you should also set SMART goals on each of these.
- Body measurementsIf you are particularly focused on losing weight and getting into shape Tim Ferris, a well-known body hacker, and author of the 4-hour body advises taking various body measurements and tracking these over time, why not try the following;
- Body fat percentage is another key metric many choose to focus. The problem is often people don’t think it is possible without fancy machinery – well, you’re wrong. The US navy seals calculate body fat using nothing more than a measuring tape with the following 5 steps;
- Measure your height – take your height in inches.
- Measure your Waist – take you waist measurement whilst trying to relax and preferably on an exhale.
- Measure your neck - start below the larynx (Adam's apple) with the tape measure perpendicular to the long axis of the neck.
- For women only - measure your hips. Place the tape measure around the largest width of your hips.
- Calculate your body fat percentage. Plug the numbers into the appropriate formulas or use an online calculator to assist you. Round your answer to the nearest full percent.
- When calculating your body fat percentage, ensure that your height is in inches, not centimeters. Use this calculator to give you a percentage
Internal biomarkers; one of our thriva kits may also produce a comprehensive set of biomarkers for your to track and set goals based off of. This test will help go beyond setting skin deep goals, and truly focus on health as well as your physical body.
B) Find a support group or partner
Having that additional person or group to be accountable to for reaching your goals is of undeniable importance in maintaining motivation. First look to your immediate network of friends and family for someone to play this role. Ideally they would be someone you train with and also sticks to the same diet, but at the very least just someone who can you meet up with fortnightly to review progress.
Still struggling to find someone? There are various online services such as myfitnessbuddy or meetup you can use to find likeminded people. Alternatively, there are apps like TruBe that match you with personal trainers at very reasonable rates. Often trainers will have a good knowledge of diet too and how to keep you motivated, in this way adding far more value than beyond just showing you what exercises to do.Coach.me offers a way to find life coaches, but also if you are feeling less sociable or don’t want to pay there is the basic habit tracker feature that will help keep you on track.
Once you’ve set your goals and found your support group or partner you’ll be already to start actually taking the steps to better health. Next we will look at the importance of diet in achieving your goals.
Before moving on to step 2 aim to have 3 consecutive weeks of recording your chosen metrics for your SMART goals. They may not move drastically but you want to start creating the habit, and focus on one thing. Once you have 3 weeks of readings you’ll have a good understanding of your base levels and can start focus on making another change habitual.
Tip; Why not make measurements part of your routine before going to bed on a Sunday. There’s no better time to reflect on the week you’ve had and set yourself up for the week ahead. Bringing consistency to time of day you measure will also help produce more accurate results. Also, remember to write them down somewhere!
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