One of the most important aspects of long-term fitness is the ability to create lifelong habits. It’s common thinking that the celebrity training program, the cutting-edge technology, or the fancy gym equipment is what we need to make it ‘work’ this time around.
But it’s not.
What makes it all work is your habits, by a long shot.
That’s because it’s what you do every day that matters most.
You can have the ideal training template personalized for you, with everything laid out based on your specific metrics of age, height, weight, genetics, etc. We can even throw in state-of-the-art training equipment and facility but its effectiveness is only as good as your ability to do it over and over again.
It’s not the great session that’s done once in a while, but the consistently challenging sessions that create progress.
That’s why if there was one gift I could give you it would be the gift of consistency.
WHY HABITS WILL END YOUR STRUGGLES
Habits are the key that makes everything go. We tend to do them without thinking, giving our brain a chance to work on other tasks or higher-level thinking. And because they are automatic there’s no need to build up a huge amount of willpower or motivation to get something done.
Habits over motivation –
Motivation is nice (when you have it) but it comes and goes and rarely stays around for long. So some days you’ll have it but most days you won’t. That’s where your habits step in. They’re something we do without giving it much thought or energy. Like brushing your teeth after a meal. It’s something you pay little attention to, you just do. Like all behaviors, exercise and eating well can become habits too, providing you more consistency than something like motivation.
Process vs results –
Focusing on results doesn’t lend itself to achieving goals. In most cases, we can’t help but feel some disappointment when we don’t get the results we want; when we want them. Part of being processed focus; is spending our time and energy working on things that are under our control. There is so much we don’t have control over (results are one of them) but we can control how hard we work at creating life-changing habits. This is the process we should invest our time and energy in; the creation of habits. You won’t achieve any results (much less great ones) unless all the habits you need are in place.
System for long-term success –
A system is a set of principles or procedures in which something is done; an organized framework or method. When you’re looking for permanent change, you have to put in place the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. That’s best achieved by creating a cohesive combination of habits like a system. Don’t have a system yet? No problem that’s what this guide is all about. It’s my hope that this guide will help you create a system that works for you. Building a network of habits that helps support not only your health but all aspects of your life for the long game.
THE PROCESS OF HABIT CREATION
Your success at creating a habit depends largely on your awareness and intent to do so. If we go through each day doing only what we’ve always done, we get stuck and continue with the same patterns. That’s because anything we do more than once has a chance of being a habit. This means it’s just as easy (if not easier) to pick up bad ones as it is to make new ones. In order to break free from where you are now and end the struggle of starting programs but not getting results to fully commit to creating a system of habits.
This is where all the work is done, this is what you focus on day in and day out. This is how you do it.
Start small –
Break down any large goal/habit into smaller components when possible. If your new habit is to exercise every day, make it an amount you know you can easily do. Don’t start out with a marathon session, start with just 10 minutes or even less if fitness is a new thing for you. It’s common to be too aggressive and over-ambitious with our habits so much so that creating them just isn’t sustainable.
One at a time –
It’s overwhelming to work on more than one habit at a time. Like juggling. It’’s easier to juggle one ball for a while but if you had two it doesn’t take long before you drop one if not both. Focus on the one habit you want to change, so you can dedicate all of your focus and energy in creating it.
Habits are a little different than goals. They are usually action based because they get down to our everyday behaviors. Like prepping for good nutrition, shopping, cooking, stretching, sleep, etc. Everything that you do (or need to do) to help you move forward towards your goals. So get specific with what you need to do and list it out in an action statement. For example, My habit is to write daily for at least 10 minutes, etc.
Anchor it –
It’s much easier to establish a new habit when you anchor it to an existing one. If you’re someone who reads the paper each morning (an established habit) you can anchor your new habit to this. Maybe after you read, you try 5-10 minutes of stretching every morning just to get the blood flowing and the joints moving from a long bout of sitting. Whatever the habit you’re trying to create figure out the best sequence (before or after an established habit) that works best for you. Try to keep it at that same time every day. This greatly increases your chance of creating a new habit.
Make it a daily thing –
When it’s possible try creating a habit that you can work on every day. If you want to be good at anything, you have to work at it every day. Habits work that way as well. As an example, it’s easier to create an exercise habit if you exercise daily. Even though the exercise itself changes it’s something that can be done consistently. For example, you can alternate walking one day and strength training the next. This way you’re doing your bait every day, shortening the time it takes to make it automatic.
Now that you have a system for creating goals, your next step is to learn to trust the process. It’s not an overnight type of thing. As you can’t decide to lose weight without the habits that support it. Otherwise, you might get short-term results but you’re completely jeopardizing your future. Many have tried diets with good results short term but fail when it’s extended beyond 6 months. Keep your focus on the process and develop a system of habits that help you sustain your progress. Moving more and eating better will just happen for you without much thought or inhuman willpower. The constant struggle goes away, and the longer you do it the more ingrained the habits become until they are a part of you.
Move Well, Live Better
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