Starting a new habit needs three simple rules, it needs to be -
Without this the end goal may become overwhelming you will try to do too much at once in an effort to be perfect.
I have been like this before and I am sure you have too, here are three ways that can help you get started on a goal.
No1 - Track progress
Beginning to track your progress is a simple way to measure whether you have completed a habit. Creating clear evidence of your progress is immediately satisfying and is a visual reminder to show how far you have come –this keeps you motivated for longer and is like having a winner’s streak!
Some of our day to day actions are tracked for us without us being fully aware of them,
For example, how happy do you get when you know you have one stamp left on your coffee loyalty card or perhaps one haircut stamp away from a free one. Buzzing!
In the context of health and fitness, two clients of mine are currently planning their triathlon training. Every time they complete a workout, they mark an ‘X’ on their calendar, as those X’s pile up they will be spurred further as visual reminder of how far they have come.
If strength is your goal, simply writing down the weights you have lifted will give your next session purpose to be better. Tracking a habit in this way will motivate you to be focused on the process rather than the result.
No2 - Never Break The Chain!
As a kid I would spend every evening taking free kicks, the practice wasn’t to hit the perfect ball, it was to be consistent and to show up regardless of how great I was playing. I was adding to a streak of gradual improvement.
If you simply show up to the gym and do the bare minimum you will still be better off than if you didn’t show up at all.
"A lost workout hurts you more than a successful workout helps you".
If your goal is to lose weight the act of logging your food will make you twice as likely to lose weight than if you didn’t.
Habit tracking keeps us honest and accountable - whether we like it or not most of us have a distorted view of our behaviours. Especially when it comes to eating, when the evidence is in front of us the truth is out.
Never break the chain is fairly clear.
Do something small everyday whilst incrementally adding to it with a visual tracker and eventually you will have that fit body or closer to what you had set out to achieve.
However, what happens when you are not perfect and work gets in the way, perhaps you get sick or you need to spend quality time with your family. This will always happen to us as life is not linear.
This is where you should apply-
No3 - Two Times a Fool rule!
We cannot be perfect when it comes to consistency, but we can work on controlling a second lapse.
"The first pizza of the week is not the one that ruins the diet, it’s the decision to either spiral and eat more junk or get back on the streak of eating ‘healthy’ for the next meal".
Missing out once is an accident but missing twice is the start of new habit. Breaking a habit is not a problem when you resume it quickly.
If you are looking to get healthier get in shape or work out ways of becoming more organised with your food and food choices, the team here at NW Personal Training would love to help.
I’m off to cross off this blog entry on my calendar.