With the New Year quickly approaching and all the resolutions that will be attempted, I found it fitting to do a little research on Habits and summarize my findings.
A Habit is defined as a routine or practice performed regularly; an automatic response to a specific situation.
Why Do Habits Matter?
I believe understanding why a habit is a habit and how they are formed is crucial to making a resolution stick! Our brains are constantly learning and adapting new habits. Habits are a way for our brain to simplify decisions and easily resolve common repetitive issues such as hunger, fatigue, stress, etc.
Positive, Negative, and Neutral Habits
Let’s start by taking a look at all the habits in your life. You might say, I don’t know any habits I have, but we all have plenty. Each habit has either a positive, negative, or neutral effect.
Examples- A positive habit for trying to lose weight would be only drinking water instead of soda or juice. A negative habit might be stopping by a drive-thru for dinner every night. A neutral habit would be waking up in the morning, this really has no positive or negative effect it is simply a part of your daily routine.
The Importance of Positive Habits
First and foremost, lose the idea that big successes are only achieved through massive, dramatic changes. This reasoning is why so many fail at achieving their goals. They set the bar virtually unattainably high. If you haven’t been to the gym much this year and your resolution is to go more you will probably fail.
Reason #1 You need clear attainable goals.
Reason #2 You need a system, clear steps that take you towards that goal daily.
Clear and Defined Goals
A clear and defined goal is, losing 30lbs, going to the gym 3 days a week, or running a 5K. These are all measurable and easy to define. They are not vague like “lose weight”, “get in shape” etc.
Importance of Systems
Systems get you to your goals. You can set goals all day long, but without a clear cut plan for executing the required steps and actions, you will fail. A goal is a direction, but a system is how you get there day by day.
Change How You Identify Yourself
The easiest first step is to begin by making choices that align with who you are trying to become.
Example- You want to run a 5K. That’s awesome, you’ve set a goal, but now what? How do you get from here to there? Without a strategy, you will likely fail.
Ask yourself what would a runner do? Would a runner eat this? Etc. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it’s about small daily improvements. This is applicable to most things you want to achieve. A runner probably runs at least a few days a week. A runner probably drinks lots of water.
Specifying when you will do the required task is crucial. The less thinking and questioning you have to do before the more likely you are to actually complete it.
An easy way to do this is to add the task/habit to something you perform daily. If you eat breakfast every day and you want to become a reader, a system for this would be “I will read for 20 minutes every day after breakfast, before I do ______”. Sandwiching the new habit between two existing habits starts you off in a positive direction.
Small and consistent daily improvements are far more beneficial in the long run. Setting a clear and measurable goal is crucial. Then, be the person you want to become, a runner, a lifter, a clean eater, whatever. Do your best to make choices that will have a positive effect on your goals. Lastly, add in the necessary positive habits and specify when throughout your day you will complete them.
*If you’d like to learn more about habits, check out the following books: Atomic Habits by James Clear, The Power of Habits by Charles Duhigg, & 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey all available on Amazon.
Thanks for taking the time to read. Goodluck crushing your resolutions! Be sure to join in on our FREE New Year Challenges for support, accountability, prizes and more.
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