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Need to get your health routine back on track? Try the 3-2-1 method

A personal trainer swears by the 3-2-1 method to stay on top of your health goals, especially during the holidays.

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The holidays can be a tough time for those trying to stick with a healthy lifestyle. Our schedules are packed, we tend to get less sleep and have more stress, and we’re surrounded by tempting foods. As a health and wellness coach for over 15 years, I have a tried-and-true method that helps my clients (and myself!) stay on track and reset after a weekend of indulging.

Whether you’re coming back from vacation, re-setting after a long holiday weekend, or just looking for a way to refocus on your health goals at the start of the week, the 3-2-1 method is my go-to tactic. 

This 3-2-1 method helps you really tune in to yourself and your goals, create an action plan and stay in a positive mindset even if you slip up. Here’s how it works:

  • 3 specific goals
  • 2 workout options
  • 1 self-care activity

 Set 3 specific health goals

When it comes to setting achievable goals, specificity is key. So start by getting clear on three specific goals for the week. They can be related to your workouts, food or mindset, but you want to get into the nitty gritty details of what, when and where you will do these things.

For example, it’s not enough to say “I will eat healthier.” Instead, if eating healthy is one of your goals, you will break it down into what, when and where. For example:

  • What: For breakfast, I’ll make smoothies.
  • When: I’ll make my smoothie before I grab my bag and head out the door. I’ll drink my smoothie on the way to work.
  • Where: I’ll prep my smoothie in the kitchen and drink it while I’m in the car.

If exercise is another priority for the week, here’s an example of how to set your goal: 

  • What: 30 minutes of exercise every day. Monday, I’ll walk outside. Tuesday, I’ll go to a spin class. Wednesday, I’ll do a Pilates workout video. Thursday, I’ll walk outside. Friday, I’ll do a yoga class.
  • When: Monday: after work, 5 p.m. Tuesday: early morning, 7 a.m. Wednesday: on my lunch break. Thursday: after work. Friday: on my lunch break.
  • Where: Mondays and Thursdays I’ll walk outside in my neighborhood. Tuesday I’ll go to the gym 10 minutes away and then get ready for work there. Wednesday and Friday I’ll lay out my mat next to my desk and do a YouTube video on my computer. 

Pick 2 workout options

Speaking of exercising, that’s step 2 of my 3-2-1 method. Even with the best intentions to do a certain workout, there will be days when life inevitably gets in the way, so having a plan B is key. If you don’t get in your walk, what is your back-up plan? If you miss your yoga class, what is your other option?

Decide on two workout options ahead of time in case you need a back-up plan. This will ensure you still get in movement even if your initial plan falls through.

If you planned to walk two days this week and it’s raining outside, your back up could be a boxing class on YouTube or an indoor walking workout. If you planned to do yoga or Pilates at lunch but got pulled into last-minute meetings, your back-up plan could be stretching and yoga at home while watching TV. If you don’t make it to your morning spin class, plan to take a walk during your lunch break or find an after-work class on the gym schedule. 

Pencil in 1 self-care activity

The last piece of my 3-2-1 reset method is to pick one thing that you’ll do for yourself toward the end of the week. What “self care” activity will give you something relaxing to look forward to and help you release stress and get some much needed “me” time? Some favorites of mine and my clients include: A massage or manicure, a bath with candles and music, foam rolling while watching your favorite TV show, sipping a drink at your favorite coffee shop or an hour of quiet time to read a book. Pick one thing that you can look forward to doing later in the week and put it on your calendar so it happens!