Building Good Habits In Five Easy Steps
Good habits have a reputation for being hard to form for a reason. They’re not as much fun as bad habits. Well, that’s not true. The cumulative effects of regular running can be exhilarating, and the benefits to your mind and body are huge.
But it’s hard to sniff at a good old-fashioned fast food sugar rush and a night spent playing video games.
That’s why we’re bringing you our roundup of five great ways to start creating better habits in your life. So you can understand that, yes, good habits are hard to form, but there are simple steps you can take, every day, to make them easier.
Create Bite-Sized Goals
One of the first mistakes many people make when deciding to pursue better habits is “going too big” right off the bat. We’ve all had those thoughts: “The right thing to do — the honorable thing to do — would be to pick something huge and just go for it. That’s how Rocky did it. That’s how Bruce Lee would do it. So this month, I’m going to lose 128 lbs or I will have disgraced my family.”
It’s not hard to see why people do this to themselves. In movies, the hero always has the benefit of a well-placed montage to help take the burn out of a twelve month training binge that would floor the average person.
In real life, your best bet is to break up your aspirant habit into smaller goals, adding up to the big one. Start with eating a healthy breakfast and doing twenty pushups every other day. Build on these goals, gradually, until you’re where you want to be.
Eliminate Your Options
Einstein, famously, only wore the same grey suits later in his life.
He wasn’t alone in this habit. Geniuses and world-changers throughout history have made it a habit to whittle down their outfit options to just the bare minimum. And the thinking is actually fairly solid: with fewer options available to you, you have less to think about. And the less time you spend thinking, the less opportunity you have to “mess it up”.
If you only bring the same packed lunch with you to work, every day, you’ve got less time to think about getting takeout. If you only ever drink black coffee (and don’t keep milk in your house), you’re not going to convince yourself to make a latte, first thing in the morning.
Take away your options, and train yourself to work with the minimum you already have.
Identify Your Triggers
“Triggers” is a term that’s taken a lot of flack from detractors in recent years, which is a pity because they’re a real thing, and can ruin your diet.
Pay special attention to yourself and the way you act in the days leading up to the first day of your diet. What usually happens in the hours and minutes before you eat french fries for no reason? Is there someone who you regularly interact with and then always find yourself in the drive-through, minutes after saying goodbye?
People like to think of themselves as incredibly strong, but everybody’s got their triggers. Figure out what yours are, then stop talking to that person (at least for a week or two), avoid that route home, and actively live in a way to avoid your triggers.
Replace Bad Habits With Good Ones
It’s hard to stop doing something and just have an empty space in your life where that thing used to be. We form bad habits because they feel good, and when you stop getting that brief shot of fun in your daily routine, it can be hard to just stop.
You’ve got to replace bad habits with good habits, to help keep that reward center of your brain activated and engaged. If you eat candy bars every day, don’t just stop eating them. Start eating something healthy, instead, like a handful of nuts or some fruit. If you watch two hours of TV, swap it out for an audiobook and a half-hour run.
Human beings crave routine, no matter what age they are. As kids, we work within a school schedule of classes at specific times of the day, homework later, and mealtimes dotted throughout. As we grow older, we follow other routines – at work, at University, and even at home.
The best way to enforce a good habit is to create a tight framework and stick to it. Not sure how you’re going to drink eight glasses of water today? Just follow the schedule you drew up and drink one every two and a half hours! Wondering when your next meal is? Wonder no longer – you diarised that bad boy yesterday!
Get a schedule together, and watch as those habits form around you.
Good Habits: It’s A Step-By-Step Process
Ultimately, any good habit comes down to self-control and willpower. You can’t fake your way into that kind of mindset, but you can create a lifestyle that encourages better habits.
Interested in improving your health and making changes in your life that keep you looking and feeling great? Get in touch with us, Journey Fitness, and discover expert health and fitness insights in the South Daytona area, today!