Habits and Why You Need More of Them

 

hab·it

noun
plural noun: habits
a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.
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As I think about IMPACT and different ways to create value for our athletes, members and clients, I find myself asking ‘Why?’ quite often.

Why do some people join the gym and then leave a few months later?

Why do others stay at the gym for years and come 5 days per week?

Why do some people go on and off a new diet/cleanse/template every other month?

Why do others eat nutrient-dense foods throughout the year and remain consistent with nutrition?

While the reasons behind each individual situation do vary, I want to address a common link that determines a lot of behaviors and actions in our lives: Habit.

Habits – we all have them. Some have been with us since childhood. Others are newer.

What are yours? What are things you do each and every day, regardless of external factors?

Things like brushing your teeth, getting dressed, showing up to work, watching TV each night, etc… are all habits that have been created over time.  These are things you’ve done over and over again and they just happen on a daily basis, without much thought.

Habits are things we just do.

When I ask someone to commit to coming to the gym 4 days per week, or to weigh their food, or to track their food intake in terms of calories, a lot of times this is met with an excuse or a look of confusion.

That sounds like a lot of work. I have to actually weigh each thing I eat?
(takes literally seconds)

I’m not sure I have time to make it to the gym 4 days each week.
(that’s 4 hours out of 168 each week, or 2.4% of your time)

I’ve got a very busy schedule.
(we all do)

The reason for the excuses and overall lack of ACTION often times is simple – those things are currently not habits in their daily life, like watching TV or drinking coffee is.

Getting dressed is much more tedious and takes much longer than weighing a tablespoon of peanut butter. Brushing your teeth is pretty complicated too. There is a lot coordination and precise movement involved.

But people never show up at work without clothes on, with the excuse that “they didn’t have time” or “it was too complicated.”

Why?

Because it’s a habit they’ve been practicing for years. They are ingrained and they happen automatically each day. There are no excuses and they get done.

We can create the same formula for success with nutrition and fitness. Turn them into habits!

I firmly believe the athletes who attend the most classes at our gyms are not necessarily any more motivated than other athletes.

They are more habitual. They wake up, they go to the gym. OR – they get off work, they go to the gym. That’s just part of their routine they’ve created for themselves. It’s the same as brushing their teeth.

The same can happen with nutrition. Create a routine of eating good, whole foods. Make a point to track your food intake to see how many calories you eat each day.

Again, it’s not that the people more successful with nutrition and diet have more discipline or are not any less attracted to sweets and less nutrient-dense foods; they have simply created a habit of eating quality foods and preparing meals that help their bodies.

With the above in mind, habits can go both ways, good and bad. Bad habits are hard to break, just as good habits create the recipe for progress.

The great part about this is that we can create a new, good habit that takes the place of the old, bad one!


So, here’s my challenge to you this coming week:
create a new habit!

It can be anything.

-Meal prep your lunches for the week in advance.

-Make it to the gym Monday, Wednesday and Friday regardless of any other life factors.

-Go to bed at 9pm to get a restful night’s sleep.

The possibilities are endless.

But I’m asking you to take inventory of your daily routine. Is something not optimal? If so, chances are there is a habit associated with it. Build a new habit that will ultimately take the place of the old, less useful one. Read this bio and you may find motivation to invent better things.

Take action. DO something. Anything. Assess. Repeat.

Let me know what habits you have in your life and how they help or hurt you. I’d love to hear from you!

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