Ted Talks: Staying on Track: What are Your Best Tips for Sticking to Your Healthy Habits?

By Ted Spiker

In my history of training, dieting and yo-yoing, my list of routine busters runs long. A sample:

I’m stressed

I’m tired

I’m injured

Taco Tuesday (and Wednesday,

Thursday, Friday and Saturday)

Too many temptations

Too many taps of the snooze button

Too many trysts with a side of sausage patties

All are excuses, all are my own choices, all reflect my inability to navigate the obstacles, yet all are my reality.Perhaps topping this list, though, is the thing that derails me every time: travel.

The pattern repeats itself over and over. I’m in a nice routine, I’m finding my rhythm, I take a trip of any length, and I fall out of my groove. What should be an easy hiccup to manage escalates into a full-blown case of screw-it-all-itis.

What makes it worse is that I know it’s coming, but I still let the disruption short-circuit my progress.

This summer, though, I decided to confront my excuses.

On a recent 10-day trip to celebrate my twin sons’ college graduation, I made it my mission to not let lounge chairs and Mai Tais get the better of me. In all, I logged three strenuous hikes, three swims, two spins, one lift, and I walked anywhere from 3-6 miles just about every morning. I ate more fish, drank more water and chose salads over fries more often than not. Of course, I also slurped some (some!) rum and splurged on forkfuls of some dreamy baklava. However, I—not triple-decker burgers or bottomless nachos—won the battle. And that felt good.

Good enough to feel empowered to follow through on the rest of my summer’s aggressive training plan.

Good enough to know that one little choice after another after another might one day add up to the goals I wantto achieve.

Good enough to know that when I’m faced with next episode of “Things That Slap My Healthy Habits in the Face,” I can punch back.

Over and over, you hear the message that one specific diet or one specific exercise routine isn’t the magic bullet. Consistency is.

Yet everywhere we turn, the threats to consistency lurk all around us. They come in the form of unpredictable life events, of our energy levels, of an environment that’s littered with all kinds of temptations and traps.

I’ve toyed with many tactics and strategies for obstacle-hopping, but I’d love to hear yours—and feature them in a future issue. Email me at profspiker@gmail.com and share your favorite habit helpers. Or at least a killer Mai Tai recipe.


Related Articles:

Time to Stretch and Flex

5 Health Phrases That Need to be BANNED!

The Physical of the Future