Whether you’d like to start waist training as part of a New Year’s resolution, or if you just want to kickstart a healthy lifestyle at any time of year, congratulations! Making that decision can be a huge step in the right direction when it comes to improving your health and fitness.
While that big decision is the first step, what might be even more important are all the little decisions that follow. In order for waist training and your commitment to better health to be effective, you actually have to follow through, day after day after day. In other words, to get the most out of waist training, you absolutely must make it a daily habit.
Making new habits in our routines and lifestyles isn’t easy to accomplish. It takes determination, commitment and certain tools to help you set yourself up for success.
Psychologists know this, which is why there has been a considerable amount of research about human behavior, motivation and how people build habits. While it would be nice if we could all make ourselves better out of sheer willpower, the science shows that this isn’t quite the way it works.
Want to know how to make your waist training routine a habit that will last? Follow these proven strategies.
- Make Long-Term and Short-Term Goals
Think about where you want your health to be from several months to a year from now (and beyond). Perhaps you want your body to be beach-ready by summertime, or maybe you’re trying to slim down for a wedding. Also be sure to think beyond the physical appearance. How do you want to feel about yourself? What do you want your energy level to be like? Jot down some of these ideas and identify which long-term goals are most motivating for you personally.
Now take some time and think about what daily decisions you need to make in order to reach those goals. You aren’t going to drop three inches from your waistline with wishful thinking; you need to do the work. (Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for examples of daily waist training routines.)
- Build New Habits into Existing Routines
What makes some habits the most difficult to stick with is when they are radically different from your current lifestyle. If you have to go far out of your way to create a healthy habit, chances are that when you hit a hurdle, you’re going to drop that habit. We naturally revert to what’s most comfortable, the path of least resistance.
What you can do instead is use your current environment and routine to help remind yourself to follow your habit. This makes it much easier to stick with. For example, you probably have some daily rituals that you can easily fit waist training, exercise and healthy eating into. Whatever you do, try to pick a cue that will help you remember to stay on habit. Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, says that visual reminders help you trigger your brain to start thinking about the habit.
Here are some simple habits someone could build into their routine:
- Instead of rushing around in the morning, lay out the next day’s outfit the night before, including your waist trainer. This literally takes one minute.
- Keep a water bottle near your workspace. Whenever you crave an unhealthy snack, reach for the water first.
- Keep your gym bag packed by the front door so you’ll never have an excuse that you don’t have it. Try to work out at the same time each day to make it a natural part of your routine.
- Join a meal-planning service to help you plan out your healthy meals in advance. Put a reminder alarm on your phone to cue you when it’s time to meal prep.
- Keep motivational quotes or pictures on your bathroom mirror to remind you why you’re doing what you’re doing.
What habits work for you are going to vary of course, but take time to think through some realistic short-term goals and habits and you will be well on your way to reaching those long-term goals.
- Simplify Your Options
According to research on self-control, are brains are easily overwhelmed when we are presented with too many choices throughout the day. For this reason, some influential leaders—Mark Zuckerberg and Barack Obama, for example—are known to wear the same clothes most of the time so that they can focus their energy on more important decisions. OK, they’re men, so maybe that’s their thing, but the point is that every single choice you make throughout the day depletes your energy, so get rid of the ones that don’t matter. According to the Harvard Business Review, to be better disciplined you should “identify the aspects of your life that you consider mundane — and then ‘routinize’ those aspects as much as possible. In short, make fewer decisions.”
In addition to simplifying your wardrobe, you can set yourself up for success by making your food options easy. Weekly meal planning can help, and you will do yourself a favor by keeping unhealthy snacks out of the house. You’re a lot less likely to reach for cookies during that mid-afternoon slump when the only options are fruit and yogurt. If you’re going to be tempted by fast food and vending machines, keep some raw nuts in your purse so there’s never an excuse.
- Visualize Your Healthy Lifestyle
When we set goals, many of us make the mistake of keeping our eyes on the end goal and the end goal alone. While it is helpful to set a goal, as mentioned above, you do yourself a disservice when you start fantasizing. Instead of dreamily imagining what you’ll look like in a bikini next summer, visualize yourself doing the hard work each and every day that it takes to get there. That will keep your fantasy in check and may even help you to be more motivated.
Some practical suggestions include keeping motivational pictures and quotes that focus on the work and not just the end result (check out #BeTheHourglass on Instagram to see real women’s progress!). Get excited about your workouts and promise to treat yourself with a brand new waist trainer whenever you size down from your first one. And do it with a friend! When you’re working out, eating better and waist training together, not only will you keep each other accountable, but the journey will be a lot more fun.
- Plan Ahead for Your Melt-Down Moments
You know yourself and so you probably know what your weaknesses are going to be when your start to lose momentum. Maybe you have a hard time getting up early to work out or you just can’t help but go for ice cream when you’re having a stressful day. When you cheat once, it’s tempting to throw in the towel altogether.
Prevent yourself from cheating by giving yourself those little cues in your most vulnerable places. Maybe you’ll be more motivated to get up in the morning if you put your waist trainer right next to your bed. Stock up your freezer with some low-calorie popsicles so that you’ll have another option when you get cravings. And if you do have a bad day, don’t be so hard on yourself. Take a minute to assess where you went wrong, and find a new plan for tomorrow.
Building the Habit: Sample Waist Training Routine
For the first week, your goal is to wear your waist trainer for 5 out of 7 days. You can start at about an hour the first day, and then slowly add an hour each day that follows. You can break it into two sessions per day if necessary. By the end of the week, you should be wearing your waist trainer for 4–6 hours.
Your goal this week is to wear your waist trainer for 8 hours a day, broken into 2 sessions if needed. Continue with the core-strengthening circuit for 3 days, with cardio in between if desired. If you haven’t explored or implemented healthy meal planning options, do it now!
Eight hours of waist training per day should feel great by now. If you’ve been breaking it into sessions, see if you can do it in one stretch each day. Aim for 5 days of exercise this week, with 3 core strength routines and 2 half-hour sessions of moderate cardio.
Your waist training goal should now be 10 hours a day. And from here on out, hopefully you’ve built some great habits! Once you grow accustomed to what a waist training routine should look like, you can alter your fitness routine to your liking.
For more examples to kickstart your new habit, also see:
Good luck! Sometimes in order to get motivated, the best thing you can do for yourself is just to start.