by Tony Gjokaj February 28, 2020 5 min read
You are the embodiment of your habits.
Habits are the actions you do everyday.
When it comes right down to it, how you look and feel are also a byproduct of your habits. Sometimes these are things that we have been doing for years that they just a part of our everyday life.
However, when we try to make lifestyle changes as we grow older, they tend to seem difficult or near impossible. It's understandable: there are so many obligations in life that get in the way... and sometimes, our mind is not in it.
There are ways to get around this... Especially when it comes to health and longevity!
In this blog post, we are going to be diving into habit-building tips. This will allow us to build a foundation to reaching your greatest potential in exercise and fitness.
Let's dive in!
The first tip is the most important to start with: starting small. Too many go into a diet immediately, restricting food groups based on a specific diet's strategy.
For most, this is just failure. You should always go start with tiny objectives, then add to it overtime. If you can't get motivated to be in the gym... even if it's five minutes, get in there. Make it a habit to be in there for five minutes a day.
Eventually that will become an hour 3-5 days a week overtime.
A Way to Execute: Learning something new? Break it down into 2-4 parts. Practice one part of it consistently until you get it down, then move to the next. With exercise, start with a small and basic program with a few exercises, then add more overtime. Since I've previously coached powerlifters, we would start off with a starting strength program with 4-5 exercises, then intensified it overtime.
Hear me out: I am not asking you to write a paragraph a day or something... just literally jot your habit down, and check it every time you complete it. Daily.
Journaling/tracking in any way has been proven to clarify your thoughts, reduce stress, make things easier to manage, and more.
Journaling/tracking brings awareness, and "game-ifies" our day to day. It anecdotally makes my lifestyle more fun with the game aspect.
I typically use a planner for my scheduling my day, that also includes a daily habit goal of the day and how I should improve. This TINY section literally holds me accountable as I see it everyday.
FYI: There are actually habit-building apps out there that I would recommend people to try. You can even set up reminders on your phone daily reminding you to execute a specific task.
A Way to Execute: Something so simple as writing a 4-step checklist on your new daily habit will "game-ify" things, allowing you to build momentum. Checking off boxes you accomplish is both visually and mentally motivating.
Slow and steady wins the race. Short-term vs. long-term. The macro vs. the micro. Many ways to look at how things should be implemented. For habits, slow and steady will always win.
The individuals who choose quick results will always give up and fail... that's typically how New Year's Resolutions go. We choose extreme instead of patience.
It's expected, we are only human: we always look for the quick. However, when you do things consistently, you begin to realize that slow incremental growth is how you will win overtime... especially in fitness.
With habit-building, shooting for 1% growth everyday is a win. 1% more every day for 100 days is 100%. That means you're 100% better than what you were.
Long-term. 1% more everyday.
A Way to Execute: Trying to read a book a week? Start by reading five pages a day. Then make that six, then seven. It may take some time, but imagine doing it this way instead of running the risk of giving up because it's feels too intimidating or impossible.
Eliminate all negative triggers or habits that will slow down your progress. With building new positive habits comes eliminating negative habits... our negative habits being things we believe to be negative: procrastination, laziness, junk food and more.
What triggers these negative habits? Our environment and emotional state play huge parts of this. Get rid of things that negatively impact your ability to build a new positive habit.
This is an extremely difficult task, but awareness of your triggers will help you build positive habits. We will discuss this in future blog posts.
A Way to Execute: Are you a stress eater? Get rid of all the junk food in the house. Fill your home with fruits and vegetables. Make yourself go out to get junk food. You most likely won't drive to get junk food unless you REALLY are craving it.
Accountability buddies are a great opportunity... if you can motivate your partner in doing so. This is why I typically recommend "spicing" things up a bit: habit contracts. A habit contract is an "if you do not do specified habit, the consequence is..." type of document or agreement.
The consequence for missing your habit is typically monetary, more work, something embarrassing.
Let me give you my example: whenever I half-assed a workout with my first trainer, he would make me walk around the parking lot with a 25lb ball over my head. Embarrassing.
As a result, this would make you not want to skip this specific habit... ever.
Contracts and REAL accountability buddies will make you feel obligated to execute, and extremely guilty if you cannot.
A Way to Execute: Imagine signing a contract between you and your personal trainer: miss a workout and you owe your trainer $15. Best believe that the contract you just signed will make you obligated not to skip at any cost.
We all will fall or make a mistake. At times, we may give in to one of our vices during times where our willpower is gone. Do you quit there? Absolutely not.
You restart and go again. You DO NOT give up.
If I gave up after one mess up... I would not be where I am today with habit building and exercise. When you fall, you rise up again.
A Way to Execute: You messed up? Write down why you messed up and what triggered it. This will provide you awareness for next time - you will most likely not make the same exact mistake.
There you have it: six habit-building tips that will get you closer to building stronger habits. In the future, we will go into some of these more in depth: with more information through research and other scientific observations.
Have anything you might want to add? Throw it in the comments below and let's discuss!
Until next time legion!
Tony is the Owner of Reforged. He is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and has been in the fitness space for over a decade. His goal is to help millions exercise their way out of depression and anxiety.
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