The keys to better health habits

Close the year in good health style with 12 Days of Fitness

"I'll start my diet Monday. .. "I'm going to start exercising... on my next birthday... when the kids go back to school... after the holidays... as soon as this project is done... once all this travel is over." "I'll slowdown and relax when the workload lets up a little."I'll start eating better when I get more time to... plan meals... go shopping... cook."
Willpower - how often have you said you'd change something about yourself if you only had enough? The truth is, you have plenty of willpower. You can make yourself exercise for a week, eat better for a day. or take more time to relax occassionally on weekends. But if you're like most of us, you slip back into old habits when stress, work and family demands, ho1idays, or other distractions crop up.
After trying and failing several times you get discouraged and convince yourself you'll never get back in shape, cut back on fast food, or take time to enjoy life.
Good health from good habits
Since life's demands won't go away, relying on willpower to improve your health can result in frustration and disappointment. But you can get back in shape, improve your diet, and handle stress better by changing the way you go about making changes.
Instead of an aII-or-nothing approach where you set deadlines to completely change some behavior, consider a more practical, moderate tactic where you build on small successes by repeating them until they become habit. For instance, if you drink too much coffee, start by cutting back by 1 cup and replacing it with a glass of water or fruitt Juice. Each day replace another cup until you're down to l or 2 a day.
If you're too busy for rest and relaxation, try schedu1ing small blocks of time to just goof off. Write it on your calendar - 4:00 pm -5:00 pm, Daydream ill the Park. " Commit to a back rub each week from (or for) your spouse or a friend. Plan a day at thezoo. Buy a video on relaxation techniques and watch it for 15 minutes at the start of the day.
Whether it's fitness, nutrition, stress management or social, emotional, and Spiritua1 health, don't try tocompletely change your behavior at once. Pick the most important thing you'd like to change, then plan an activity that contributes to the change, Make the activity specific, realistic, and positive. If you feel you're denying yourself something desserts, TV, overtime, extra sleep, etc, you'll come to resent the new activity and revert to old habits.
To improve your chances for success at any behavior change. remember this:
What really matters. Trying to correct every flaw or remake yourself into magazine cover matertal probably isn't realistic or even a priority. Concentrate on things you can do something about - the ones that mean something to you.
A day at a time. The habits you're trying to change may have been reinforced for years - give yotlrself some time to adjust and correct them.
Emphasize the positive, concentrating on alI the things you're doing wrong can cause frustration, Instead, pick something you do well and build on it. Once you've mastered that, add another and then another.
Rely on repetition - not willpower - to form good habits.
12 Days of Fitness builds healthy lifestyles through repetition
If you'd like to end the year on a healthy high note and head into thenew year with a foundation for some good healthy habits, the 12 Days of Fitness program can help. By building on positive, achievable health activities each of ilie 12 days, you'l1 improve your heaIili without feeling you had to give up life's pleasures, And the activities become habit-forming because you're repeating iliem across the 12 days -just like the song!