Have you wondered how some people manage to get so much done? They’ll breezily announce they are going to “start exercising and eat healthily”, and you just know that they’re going to ace it.
Perhaps for you, it may be a different story – do you stick to your new goals for a while, and then you lose your motivation? Creating and sustaining good training habits needn’t be difficult, in fact it can actually be quite easy – even fun –with five of our proven tips.
1. Small steps can lead to big change
Shift your constant focus away from your long-term goals and focus instead on the more achievable short-term goals of simply showing up and applying your habit every single day and at every individual meal. Don’t expect to switch to a healthy diet overnight or go from nothing to four gym sessions every week. The will-power required for that is just too much to sustain.
The solution? Start small enough so it hardly requires any will-power at all:
- First establish your actual habit behaviour. Don’t increase the effort required for the behaviour before it has become a natural part of your daily routine
- Start with five push-ups per day instead of fifty
- Increase the size of your vegetable intake by swapping out the unhealthy snacks with smaller and more frequent portions of healthy snacks
Remember, writing a list for everything we want to do differently and then attempting to change them all at once is a recipe for failure.
2. Shape your environment
Design your environment to support your desired habits by getting rid of distractions that stop you from training. Each habit requires a certain amount of energy to follow through on it, and the more energy it need individually the less likely you will be on following through. When you replace the ‘ease’ of the unhealthy habit with a ‘easier’ healthy habit you will find that it is easier to leave the bad habit behind.
Let’s say you want to get in more time at the gym but find that getting yourself there is proving difficult. When you decrease the energy required to accomplish your desired habit you’ll find you can ease yourself into your desired habits.
3. Be intentional
Vague plans like “I’ll try to get on the treadmill a lot this week” simply won’t get you anywhere. You’ll be likely to follow through if you’ve decided – ahead of time – precisely when and how often this new behaviour is going to take place.
- Reframe your habit to be an ‘If and then statement’. For example, “If I’ve finished my laundry, then I’ll do five lunges.”
- Implement scheduling. Obvious, yes, but very few of us use it. If you schedule it, it tends to get done. Your new habit will be important to you, so let your calendar reflect it. Give it proper space in your schedule, just like you would with a business meeting, and you will find enjoyment in ticking off your accomplishments.
- Don’t allow others to infringe on your workout time, because exercise is as important as sleep. Obviously, there is also a need for balance in this and if you have missed your daily workout make sure that you find a replace it in your schedule.
4. Celebrate those small wins
We often seem to prefer the stick to the carrot, which is a pity because research shows that celebrating your progress is critical for your motivation. Activate that reward circuitry in your brain by rewarding yourself for making progress, no matter how minor the progress. Be careful here and try not to make the reward a food based ‘exception’ (like I can have a giant bowl of ice cream now that I walked around the block) as this can be an easy way for the rewards to outstrip the progress. Instead look for effort appropriate rewards like buying a new outfit or treating yourself to the tickets to that show you have been wanting to see.
5. Surround yourself with support
The people we surround ourselves with have a major impact on our behaviour. We tend to adopt similar goals and feel the same way as the people we spend the most time with. So, it figures that it will dramatically increase your chances of success by having the right people on-side.
If you want to make meaningful change to your health and wellness it is important to find ways of getting support along the way. Look for a workout partner with a fitness similar goal, join a running club that meets a couple of times a week or look for a cycling club in your area. This is a great way to meet people with similar goals, find some extra accountability and people who can encourage you on your path.
For more fitness inspiration, ideas, supplements and at-home training solutions, contact our team.