IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

4 steps to start your health transformation

Ready to transform your habits and goals for 2019? Trainers Heidi and Chris Powell offer four strategies to help you get started.
/ Source: TODAY

Most Americans start the new year off with the same goals: lose weight, eat healthier and get active. What's wrong with those goals? They're not specific enough.

As a husband-and-wife duo, we train everyone we work with to truly map out their transformation plans. Setting a goal like "lose weight," won't actually help you lose weight.

Use these four tips below to take your resolutions to the next level — and actually make them happen!

1. Identify your goals.

In other words: What do you want to achieve? Why do you want to achieve it? And how can you take the first step today? The key is to create SMART goals — here's how to do it:

  • Specific: Ask yourself the question, “What exactly will I achieve?” We want details — what does it look like, feel like, sound like?
  • Measurable: Whether it’s pounds lost, inches lost, biometrics, clothing sizes, or performance times and weight lifted, you MUST be able to measure what you will achieve to verify whether it was achieved or not. It must be quantifiable!
  • Attainable: A successful goal must be reachable — not too difficult or idealistic — or you’re setting yourself up for failure. You should never make a goal that physically isn’t possible OR is so incredibly difficult to reach that dedicating the necessary time to reach it would be nearly impossible with your current workload.
  • Relevant: A SMART goal must be important enough to you that you’ll want to make the necessary sacrifices to achieve it. It must be a major priority, to the point that it creates a sense of urgency in your life.
  • Time-sensitive: Finally, your goal must have a time limit. Anchor that time in and never move it! There must be a specific window of time in which the goal is achieved. “Eventually,” “sometime,” or “soon” will never happen. Your goal will not be complete until you put a hard date on it.

2. Create realistic expectations.

The biggest mistake we experience in transformation is taking on too many commitments at once to achieve your goal, like five smaller meals in the day, 45 minutes of cardio, weights three days/week, etc. What we don’t realize is that our confidence/belief in ourselves is on the line with each and every one of these inflated commitments.

If we can’t keep up with these far-fetched commitments, we resort to all-or-nothing thinking and give up altogether! This is followed by more negative self-talk and further loss of belief in your ability to ever change.

Instead, try making a single small and attainable commitment that we call a Power Promise:

  • I will drink an extra quart of water daily.
  • I will eat breakfast.
  • I will eat protein at every meal.
  • I will reduce sugar intake to less than 50g per day.
  • I will deliberately move for 5 minutes a day.

When beginning the journey of transformation, select just ONE promise and keep it for at least a week. If you can, and you are totally confident that you can take on another, add a second commitment. Taking on just the Foundation Five alone will yield phenomenal changes in your body and health. Once you build up to taking on all Foundation Five commitments, then you are ready to take on a structured transformation program!

One final reminder: Don’t compare your journey to others. Every BODY is different and will lose/change at a different rate. Celebrate victories (both scale and non-scale).

3. Master the mental game.

Creating a healthier mindset and attitude is crucial. Here is a really fun way to remind yourself that you are great: Make a gratitude jar. Fill it with all of your accomplishments. When you're feeling down and that negative self-talk is starting, take one and read it to yourself. Reflect on all that you've accomplished.

4. Create partner workouts.

Having someone to transform with you is key to your success. Grab a neighbor, sibling, spouse or friend and try these two moves:

Grasshoppers: Start with your body in push-up position. Bend your right knee and twist your leg, bringing your knee to your left elbow. Repeat on the other leg. Pick up the pace and alternate legs until you hit 50!

Single arm rotation squats: With a dumbbell in your right hand, lower down into a squat position, keeping your back straight. As you stand up, twist to the left and straighten your arm in the air. Perform until your muscles fatigue and repeat on the other side.

For more advice, sign up for our One Small Thing newsletter.