Think a new habit is hard? Nope, my six steps will get you there.

This is a great post from one of our favorite trainers, Brandy Elliott.  She does virtual training as well as in person.  Check out her site here

“If we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act, but a habit“. -Aristotle!

There is a lot of debate as to whether or not Aristotle actually said this, however the point is that habits can make or break your level of success in life. Part of living a happy healthy life is transforming your knowledge or inspiration into daily habits. In today’s world whether you realize it or not, most of us are known for our habits. “You’re that fitness girl” is one I get regularly. But In reality, working out is just a habit that I have developed over the years, that has grown into what I am known for. I have friends who are known for being runners, extremely joyful people, healthy eaters, extremely negative people, and my favorite.. workaholics.  In reality all of these are just habits these people have instilled in their own lives. The question is…. What are you known for? Are your daily habits positive ones or do you need to get rid of some bad habits that are affecting your life negatively.    The goal of this blog isn’t to tell you how to change your entire life in one day, its simply a plan I use to help develop a new habit and gain momentum to slowly add more and more healthy habits into your daily life.

Before we dive into how I actually  develop a new habit so that it becomes routine in my life let me say this……… There really is no difference between me and you. (other than I may or may not have more tennis shoes 🙂       I wake up every morning with the same amount of hours in my day, I take the same daily steps to the coffee pot, say a prayer that my daughters wake up on the right side of the bed, and that there are no  major hiccups in my day. Some days I climb out of bed ready to conquer the world, while other days I just want to climb back under the covers. The difference is I have developed habits that have grown into a life routine for me.   Now, I know, I know, its extremely difficult to develop new habits.  Most of us will start a new habit then give up a couple days later. The focus behind building new habits that you can continue starts with small baby steps.  (remember we are not trying to change your life overnight)

Here are a few steps that I personally use when I want to implement something new into my life:

  1. Start with one small habit you would like to develop. (be specific) This way you can channel your willpower into just one thing at a time, increasing your odds of success. (examples could be I want to walk for ten minutes every evening, or I want to read for 30 minutes at night before bed)
  2. Commit to a minimum of 30 days. While its been said that it takes 21 days to build a habit, some experts will argue that it is more like 66. Honestly, in my opinion, the truth varies from person to person, and habit to habit. Some habits are easy to build while others are more difficult.
  3. Anchor your habit to a routine. Habits shouldn’t try to be formed because you are feeling motivated and/or because they are the latest fad they should be something that you truly feel will benefit your body AND mind. Associate this habit with something you already do on a daily basis. Then create a statement around it. For example: After dinner i will sit on the couch and read for an hour. Or After I brush my teeth every night I will write down everything that I ate for the day. You get the idea. For me my latest one was” I will listen to 20 minutes of personal development while I drink my morning coffee instead of scrolling through social media”
  4. Focus on the habit not motivation. The problem with relying on motivation alone is that you don’t have a back up plan for when the unexpected arises in your life. So keep the habit you are looking to form small and not extremely time consuming. (i.e eating an extra serving of vegetables a day, walking for ten minutes, waking up ten minutes early, ect…) Yes, this may seem overly simplistic, however, that is why it is so powerful. When it is easy to complete the habit you will often build momentum and do more of the habit than you had orginally intended!!! And that my friends is the goal here.
  5. Whatever you do, whatever your day may bring, Don’t break the chain!!!! There will be days when you are tired, overwhelmed, depressed, hungover, or extremely busy. All of these are valid reasons to skip that day. But if you focus on anchoring a small habit to a part of your daily routine it will be easy to stay committed and NOT Break the Chain. As you all know, once one link is broken off the chain, the tension is gone and it becomes easy for more links to break and before you know it you have completely unraveled.
  6. Plan for challenges and obstacles. Every new habit you try to develop with have its challenges and obstacles. The important this is to plan for these and learn how to pivot when necessary. A few examples might be…… not enough time, bad weather conditions, not enough room, even self consciousness. ..The best way I have found to deal with this is to create an “if then” statement in your head. a couple examples are ” If the weather is calling for rain I will run at the gym instead. If I have a bad day at work and get home late I will take a 15 minute walk instead of 30.

Once your habits are learned, repeated and acquired you will notice that they start to occur mindlessly. Just like driving a car, which we all learned through a series of steps that required significant concentration we can now perform with barely any thought at all. The same is true for any other habit you are trying to form or learn. Excellence is not a one time act, its a habit! So focus on your habits and watch yourself become GREAT!