Helping individuals create a healthier lifestyle that sticks. To produce lasting change through making small, gradual improvements to key health behaviors.
NOTE: While this page is sometimes used for active challenges it is always up and the outline and guidelines are always relevant and useful in helping you achieve your general health and fitness goals. When an active challenge is not running please simply ignore all points relevant to the actual challenge (e.g, rules, prizes, dates, etc).
Key Quotes for this challenge:
“If the methods cannot be maintained neither will the results which they produce”.
“Small strides will get you the same distance as large leaps, the former just makes the journey much less strenuous”.
The goal of this challenge is to help individuals create a healthier lifestyle that sticks. To produce lasting change through making small, gradual improvements to key health behaviors.
Too often we make changes that never last more than a few hours, days, or weeks (if we’re lucky).
Any progress we see is quickly lost with the behaviors that could not be sustained.
How many follow some program or challenge just to go right back to their old behaviors within days or weeks?
They sacrifice long-term success for quick results.
Key Quote: “If the methods cannot be maintained neither will the results which they produce”.
Two key issues that occur when making health behavior changes are;
- Not being able to follow a path long enough to see results
- Not being able to maintain that path (or a sufficient enough version of that path) in the long-term and therefore ultimately losing any progress made
The solution to overcoming these common issues is two-fold.
First, we need a mindset shift. A shift away from the quick results seeking mindset that leads so many to long-term failure (by leading us to seeking quick fixes). This mindset shift keeps us away from the gimmicks and fads that usually draw our attention.
Second, after getting our mind in the right place, we have to focus on taking slow, gradual steps and tackling different health behaviors one (or a few at most) at a time.
Key Quote: “Small strides will get you the same distance as large leaps, the former just makes the journey much less strenuous”.
Note: This challenge can (and should be) done multiple times, allowing the behaviors (and the positive effects of those behaviors) to compound. As the behaviors become habitual, you adopt a new set of them (I recommend never choosing more than 2-3 at a time).
Follow our page here for updates, tips, and motivation. Remember to comment “Healthy Living” on one of the original posts to confirm your participation!
So, What’s the Plan?
Again, the goal of this challenge is to create lifestyle changes that stick.
I want you to finish this four weeks having adopted some healthier behaviors and therefore to have ultimately created a healthier lifestyle.
In order to do that, we need to keep things simple, the changes small, and implement some form of monitoring and accountability.
These are the steps;
- Choose [no more than] 2-3 of the health behaviors from the list provided.
- Write these behaviors down along with the specifics of how you will implement them
- Set up a plan to monitor these behaviors
- Set up a form of accountability, both daily and weekly check-ins
Choosing your behaviors:
Choose [no more than] 2-3 of the behaviors in the list below. Remember to choose those that best fit your goals and/or which you feel will be the best fit for you.
If there are any behaviors that you think of that are not listed feel free to use them instead and mention them in the comments of one of the challenge posts.
Always ensure that the behaviors are simple and small. That is key!
Health Behavior List
- Eat a serving of your favorite fruit or vegetable prior to one meal
- Drink a glass/bottle of water prior to each meal
- Increase the serving size of fruit or vegetable at one meal
- Replace one full meal with a healthier option (possibly keep a small portion of “pleasure” food)
- Set up a simple, enjoyable, and convenient exercise regimen
- Be more consistent with your current regimen
- Add 5-10 minutes to your current regimen (cardio related)
- Add a 5-10 minute cardio session after your resistance training regimen
- Take a 5 minute walk after lunch
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator (only if this is a daily occurrence for you)
- Get up and move every 15-30 minutes during prolonged sitting periods
- Take a 5 minute walk after dinner
- Go to bed 5 minutes early
- Go to bed 10 minutes early
- Take 5 minutes in the morning to take deep breaths and/or meditate
- Take a 5 minute nature walk at a convenient time in your day
Setting up your Monitoring:
I truly believe that self-monitoring is one of the most underutilized and powerful tools in any change process. It allows us to become more mindful of our behaviors, provides solid data, and helps us in holding ourselves accountable (which we will get into next).
There are many options when it comes to self-monitoring. You can use the dozens of applications available on your phone or simply use pen and paper.
The key is being consistent and accurate. I have listed some options for both I Phone and Android users below (I am in no way affiliated with these companies, I simply picked those with the best reviews).
I Phone User Options:
- Momentum Habit Tracker
- Simple Habit Tracker
Android User Options:
Again, a journal or notepad will work just as well. It really comes down to preference. I tend to prefer the convenience of the applications when it comes to monitoring, though I prefer to write my programs down on paper.
Just make sure that you use the simplest, most convenient option for you and be consistent.
Note: It is best to use a system in which your performance is based on more than just a “pass or fail” scale. I like to have at least 3 options; green, blue, and red or great, good, needs improvement.
This prevents the negative connotation that comes with the word fail. It also allows you to have just done decent for the day as opposed to “failing completely” (the dichotomous thinking that leads so many of us to complete failure).
Setting up your Accountability System:
Accountability is another crucial aspect of any change process. I negated this for a long time and truly feel that it made a significant difference in my rate of success.
While I believe it would be most beneficial to have another individual help in your accountability system, it is not absolutely necessary. For many of us (and all of us to some degree) it is hard to be truly objective of ourselves and our behaviors.
If you feel that you can successfully hold yourself accountable and/or you do not have anyone willing to help you that is fine.
Now, this is somewhat already done for you in that you are monitoring your behaviors (it’d be hard to closely monitor your behaviors without holding yourself accountable, though it is definitely possible).
Websters definition of accountability is “the quality or state of being accountable; an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility for one’s actions.”
Many times we tend to blame-shift, blaming everyone and everything (except ourselves) for our failures. Now, while I believe that we are much less in absolute control of ourselves than we think, we should primarily concern ourselves with what WE can do to improve our situation.
I cannot control others (influence sure, but not control), therefore I only need to focus on what I did wrong and what I can do to fix it.
So, in each of your check-ins I want you to ask yourself those 2 questions;
- What did I do wrong?
- What can I do to fix it?
Now, I recommend both daily and weekly check-ins, each one slightly different. The weekly check-ins will just be a little more thorough than the daily ones.
Example: Daily check-ins will mainly consist of adding a short note (regarding your “grade” from the monitoring) while weekly check-ins will provide a more thorough overview of your progress, current barriers to success, and a solid plan to correct any issues.
These check-ins are a time to figure out where you faltered and how you can improve next week.
A huge factor in any change process is support.
For this reason I am making myself available during this challenge to answer any questions you may have along the way.
You can message me anytime on Messenger during the 4 week challenge and I will get back to you as soon as I am able (likely within 24 hours of your question).
For questions or concerns regarding the challenge fill out the form below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I am able.
All participants are responsible for making the decision to participate in this challenge and they understand that there is risk in all physical activity and exercise.
The participants take full responsibility for any and all injuries and/or complications sustained during this challenge. Cruz Online Fitness Coaching and it’s owner (Michael Cruz) is not responsible for any such injuries or complications. Be wise, use your better judgement and listen to your body at all times.
Know your limitations and always seek your physicians guidance and advice if you are unsure about anything pertaining to your health.
NOTE: If you feel like you could use some guidance along the way, someone to support you and keep you on the right track and expedite your success check out my online coaching service (if it isn’t for you, no pressure at all, it isn’t for everyone).