I have many, many articles and posts about how to get lean, get healthy, get fit and so on.
It’s not hard to have enough information about what to do. In fact, you probably have plenty of information right now.
But, the hard part is actually putting it into place.
Anyone can write down great SMART goals, promise to start Monday, tell someone about it and then wait for the magic.
What?!?! There’s no magic?
Sadly no 😬
It is easy to think that some people are just good at this and others, perhaps you, are not.
The problem is, that creating new habits can be very, very hard. And I get that. Making lasting changes to what you probably do every day is not easy for most people.
What usually happens when someone decides to lose some excess body fat or improve their health is that they decide to do the following (or similar);
- exercise every day
- get to bed earlier
- get up earlier
- pack your lunch
- stop drinking crap
- cook at home more
- give up alcohol (yes the other drinking crap)
- track your steps
- get some sunlight
- don’t snack
- stop eating junk food
- start eating 10 cups of vegetables per day
- count calories
- do some more exercise
- sign up for some expensive program, supplements or meal replacements
- decide you need to be hungry
Depending on where you are exactly, some of the above may come easy to you, at least at first.
But for most, the list above is just totally overwhelming and even with best intentions and a buddy to do it with you, more often than not, it lasts 1-5 days at most and you give up again.
Changing your behaviours is not easy because lets face it. Most of what you do every day is on auto pilot.
You aren’t even making conscious decisions about what you’re doing most of the time. That’s why they’re called HABITS. Because you just do them by habit.
If I haven’t said this at least 1000 times – the key to long term change is to change those habits.
You need to change what you’re doing on a regular basis, because what you’re currently doing is NOT WORKING FOR YOU
As humans, we love to stay still. We are programmed to keep doing what we are doing – its safety mechanism at its best.
If you try to change all of this at once, there is a very, very, very high chance of failure. Even if you do manage to hang in there for a short time, most people who completely overhaul at once do not sustain it. They simply fall back into their behaviours either one at a time or even all at once. (commonly known as falling off the wagon)
What then is the solution?
Using the example above, you need to pick just one or two of those things to work on at once. I’d suggest exercise because it has many other benefits as well. And once you start to see changes from doing just that, it will motivate you to make more changes.
So no matter what, you’d commit to doing something active every day.
Why every day? Because doing something at least daily is key to making it a new habit. If you try to just do it 3 times per week, it won’t be ingrained as a habit.
You don’t need to do a mad crazy workout every day. No, you’d decide on your frequency of workouts – say 3-5 times per week and on the other days you’ll walk, or play your sport, or do something really active with your kids.
Just commit to being active every single day.
Using another example such as pack your lunch.
This is not going to become a habit if you just decide to do it 2-3 days per week. To really become a new behaviour (or habit) you need to do it daily.
Once you have that habit in place – which can take 1-4 weeks or more of DAILY practice, then you add another related habit.
It might be getting to bed earlier, drinking more water or not drinking your calories.
With just one thing to focus on, it will be so much easier to make this a new thing you do.
To help make each habit a success, I like to practice what I call PUTTING SUCCESS IN MY WAY
This means that I think about what is going to perhaps prevent me from keeping my promise to myself to complete this habit every day.
I actually list them in my diary when I set new habit goals.
Example; something comes up with the kids, alarm doesn’t go off, appointments change, coaches cancel, bad weather (if its something I was doing outside) and so on.
Then next to each one, I write down how I can ensure this doesn’t happen, or what I’m going to do if it does.
Example: have a home workout ready that I can do anywhere, set 2 alarms or get someone else to wake me, home workouts, immediately book another session to replace the one I missed, go walking/running instead while I wait for kids ………
It’s a 3-5 step process:
- Set your main goal or goals and write down what steps or habits you need to put into place to make them happen. (that’s like the list above)
- Pick just 1 or 2 of those habits to work on. Just them. All you do is focus on them. PUT SUCCESS IN YOUR WAY with just these 1-2 habits.
- Once that new habit is in place, add another. This is called Habit Stacking
You will most likely find that if you follow this plan, you will achieve success. It may not be really rapid, although you will be surprised how quickly you can achieve results when you keep moving forward like this instead of going 2 steps forward and 1 step backward all the time.
If however you are find this process isn’t enough, there are a further 2 steps you can follow. I’ve written a separate article for these additional 2 steps because this article is getting rather long.
You can find the rest of the article here