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Have you ever wondered how to build healthier habits to help you get into shape? Do you feel like you’re constantly lacking the motivation and not in the right mindset? Then read on. It took me a while to understand that motivation is fleeting and unreliable. In truth, the discipline of building new habits is what it takes to make change happen.
According to Charles Duhigg, the author of The Power of Habit, our lives are merely a set of habits. Even when we think we are actually ‘choosing’ it is in fact a habit that we built overtime. If you think of your typical day you will soon realise that you have certain routines that actually translate into a set of habits.
In a Ted Talk he gave a while back he mentioned his habit of grabbing a cake from the cafe every afternoon. Needless to say this affected his waistline and he wanted to do something about it. He replaced this habit with a new one in order to lose weight. Every afternoon around the same time he would get up from his desk, walk over to a colleague and have a chat for about 5-10 minutes instead of eating cake. This little shift had a dramatic impact on his waistline in time.
But of course building healthier habits it’s easier said than done, right? I mean you tried everything and it didn’t work. Why is it so hard? No, there is nothing wrong with you…
If you’re like most people you’ve probably tried the ‘cold turkey’ approach. By that I mean eating all the unhealthy stuff in the house today as tomorrow you start your ‘diet’ and don’t want to have it around (I know, I too have done that so many times!). It took me a good few months to build better habits and each individual is different. In time, I’ve noticed that my new habits became my routine, hence I was able to make the transition and stick to it.
To get you started, I have included below 3 simple tricks that helped me massively.
1. Start with eating ONE healthy meal every day
It can be either of your daily meals. If it’s easier maybe set a habit of eating a healthy lunch each day at work and you can prep during the weekend (or overnight). As a result, this removes the pressure of having to make a choice at lunch time when you’re really hungry and more likely to buy something unhealthy. You will start feeling a lot better after lunch, less sluggish and bloated. Give this a good few weeks, don’t add any extra pressure on, just focus on eating your healthy meals and notice how you feel. (Here’s some healthy lunch ideas)
It might be worth starting a journal and note what foods you’re eating throughout the day. It is scientifically proven that most people believe they eat a lot better than what they do in reality. The idea of keeping a journal to notice certain patters can be applied to anything in your life. I’ve now started journaling every day for the last few weeks (I used to do it before very inconsistent) and it has made such an impact. I find emptying your mind and actually jotting things down or rather typing them really powerful and helpful. Give it a go, it might surprise you!
2. Shake it off or walk it off
I probably sound like a broken record by now, don’t I? Can you tell I believe exercising is such a huge help? I strongly believe that if you try an activity you enjoy and try it out twice a week, you will notice a huge impact in your life. It will positively affect your work, sleeping patterns, mind and body. Walk to/from work if that’s an option, go for a walk at lunch time if you can or simply go to gym class or yoga class that you enjoy. Don’t do more than 2 days a week to begin with, just really work on building this new habit. You could even try step 1 for 2-3 weeks and then add the exercise bit in. Just be consistent with it to really help you build a new habit. To ease you off into it here’s a quick leg workout for you.
3. Find a buddy or a community to keep you accountable
This is actually my favourite one on the list. I do believe that being surrounded by people with similar values, who are positive & who uplift you it’s a massive advantage in life. So finding a gym buddy, dance partner, running buddy or like-minded community either online or offline can truly impact your results. After months of having a gym buddy, you will actually be so used to this new habit that it won’t matter much when they can’t join you.
A perfect example for me is my yoga classes. For the last few months I haven’t been as consistent with the practice as I would have liked, mainly due to training in the mornings and feeling like I am too exhausted in the evenings for it. But knowing that at least 3-4 of my buddies are going it gives me the push I need when I don’t really feel like it. With my morning training I also create an ongoing event in my calendar so I see a notification constantly to remind me that if it’s scheduled it will happen.
So there you have it guys my top 3 tips to help you build better habits. Now I would really love to hear from you. Do you have any tips that have helped you build better habits? What are the things you’re struggling with most at the moment? Pop them in the comment below and let’s get this party started 😉
Till next time, focus on the good.