This 3 part series, written by John Huddart, a health coach and Ironman triathlete, explores how to best approach a goal, as big and complex, as getting healthy.
Huddart’s ‘Ironman’ approach, relies little on willpower, and instead, teaches students to create sustainable habits that help to unlock a long term, low effort, healthy lifestyle.
If You Want to Get Healthy, You’re Going to Need a Plan
As much as we wish for it to be different, the game of health isn’t a sprint, it’s not even a marathon – it’s an Ironman.
When we think about your health as an Ironman, suddenly it’s not the 21 day cleanse, or the new gym membership, it’s the consistent daily actions you commit to, that represent the most effective changes we can make.
Granted, this type of health isn’t as sexy as a 21 day detox, but in terms of lifetime value, instead of your detox, if we focused on one habit, and stuck with that habit for life – we would be far better off.
And the truth is, every single super healthy, wealthy or influential person we admire became that way gradually, because success is built sequentially – one habit at a time.
Research corroborates the idea that big sweeping changes are prone to short term results:
A 2015 Scranton University study looking at the success of people committing to exercise and diet change, found that 4 months after starting a new year’s resolution, 9 out of 10 participants had fallen back into their unhealthy habits, regained their weight and lost out on all of their hard won energy and health.
New year’s resolutions or not, when we commit to health, we typically change everything all at once: Cold turkey we plunge into a new workout routine, swearing off booze, junk and partying and instead, we wake up early and eat salads all the time.
Can you relate?
Inevitably though, we burn out, willpower exhausted and with temptation everywhere, we end up indulging once or twice and then we get stuck.
Unfortunately, getting on and off the health wagon isn’t a healthy approach as we never build a base or foundation of habits – and it’s these habits that will enable us to pursue greater and more meaningful challenges.
Personally, I spent a few years doing the flip flop health approach and, looking back I see that training for Ironman was the catalyst that smartened me up.
As a total novice in the sport, consistency and strategy was the only way I was going to make the finish line happen.
One of the major advantages of building this type of sustainable relationship with health, one that is based around habits – is that you’ll require a lot less willpower to get it done.
In fact, if you’re relying on your willpower to achieve something as big as getting healthy – as the new year's resolution study indicates, you’re playing a dangerous game.
And sustainable health isn’t boring – quite the opposite!
With sustainable health you can still make room for pizza, beers and whatever else you want to indulge in, because behind it all, your health is supported by a foundation of ironclad healthy habits.
If you’re interested in learning what that looks like in practice, look for my next article where I share a powerful experience at the end of my training for Ironman that included lots of pizza, a ton of booze and a sleepless night dancing – all after 160 km’s of training and just a few weeks out from race-day.
I’ll also share with you the exact recovery strategy I used to bounce back to a high functioning 9/10 just 24hrs later.
Questions, thoughts or comments?
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