Habits are the result of behaviours that you repeat over a period of time which also mean they are behaviours you have to start over and over again. So, if you think about it, if you consistently don’t get started you will never build a habit. Fact.
Let’s look at getting things started…
If we can find a way of getting the process started easier then surely we can find a way to make building a habit easier? This is where rituals and routines can be extremely helpful especially when relating them to your workouts and nutritional habits.
The goal here would be to make that ritual or habit automatic, ensuring that you follow through with that particular workout or that lunch you needed to prep for work the next day. Sometimes it can be a good idea to write down a to-do list which says “I will do part A of my programme on Thursday at 7am before work” for example.
Setting a schedule has been proven to increase productivity in the long run. I find it really helpful to log my food in MyFitness Pal app the day before to help make preparation of it easier and to also ensure I am hitting my calories for that particular day for example.
I find that if I don’t log my food I am 99.9% guaranteed to either go over or under my allocated calories for that day, affecting my progress in the longer term.
Imagine if you did this everyday. Those small but frequent ‘mistakes’ begin to stack up and by the end of the month they total to make a significant impact. Its like that odd biscuit you have each day, which seems like nothing at the time, but if you add them up over a period of a week or two and… voila! You’ve eaten a whole packet!
Developing good habits is as important as eliminating bad ones.
Try highlighting one bad habit that occurs daily and replace it with a good one.
Do this for a week and you’ve replaced 7 bad habits with 7 good ones.
Whether these habits are small or large, it doesn’t matter.
The only thing that matters is that you are making those positive changes required in order to reach your overall goal.
As with anything, the best way to develop exercise and nutritional habits is to start small and gradually build up. Start with something so easy to implement that it is virtually impossible not to do it or say no. Hard or difficult habits are often inconsistent whereas easier and more manageable ones carry a lot more consistency producing greater results in the long term.
You just have to stick at it.
Focussing on the habit first rather than the end results will also help to develop consistency, leaving you less inclined to sack the whole thing off and give up!
The typical approach when it comes to diet and exercise, which is where many us go wrong, is to focus on getting results first, such as “I want to lose a stone before Christmas”.
Whilst having goals is essential, they need to be realistic and manageable.
It is better to focus on the process rather than the goal.
In the beginning, establishing a good foundation for nutrition and training should be of upmost importance. For example, in the first month or so its more important to not skip workouts than it is to have made massive progress on your bench press (sorry lads!).
Once you settle into a routine, hitting all of your workouts, and you have found finding an appropriate and manageable nutrition plan, which works for you, you can then start to think about stepping things up a notch.
But without that initial habit, every strategy and system, no matter how good it is, will struggle to live up to expectation.
Build the habit first and then you can start to worry about the results later.