Building Habits

We’ve all been there. You want to start doing something that’s good for you, but it’s one more thing to add to your routine.

Where to start?

Although it depends on your personality, trying to start everything all at once often leads to an overwhelming amount of change, leading to failure, then guilt and, eventually, reverting back to all of your old habits.

Pick a thing. Just one.

Success begets success. So give yourself a win. Start with something relatively easy. Want to lose thirty pounds? Give yourself a timeframe for losing five. Trying to get more sleep? Bump up your bedtime by ten minutes a week until you find that sweet spot where you feel rested AND have a life. If you struggle with eating healthy and working out, be consistent with one of those for a week or two. Often if you’re working out, you feel more like eating healthy. Or you’re eating healthy, and now you have more energy for that workout.

Be consistent in working out for a week, two weeks. Then make one change in your diet. Drink three sodas a day? Cut back to two, then one the next week. Then one every other day, etc. As silly as it sounds, these baby steps all add up to big changes over time. You may even find that you feel so much better working out, that your food choices change to better support your new routine.

Know your limits

Let’s say you’re wanting to start working out and eating better, and drinking enough water, and getting enough sleep and remembering to take your vitamins. But currently you eat fast food three times a day, only drink soda, energy drinks, and water, and go to bed five hours before you have to get up for work. Trying to change all those habits come Monday morning may not be the best course of action.

Like all your bad habits, good habits take time. Just as that donut a day habit didn’t form overnight, neither will your love for working out before the sun comes up.

I often hear from clients that they just can’t get up early. They try to go to bed earlier, but they just can’t sleep. When I first started Crossfit, I hadn’t worked out in a while. I started with the 5:30 am class because it worked well with my work schedule. The idea of going to bed at 8:00 pm every night was crazy to me. I’m a night owl. So that first week, I just suffered. Unable to fall asleep early, but forcing myself to get up early, my body eventually adjusted. I gradually moved my bedtime until my mind and body figured out what was going on.

Accountability

This can be scary. Find someone you trust and let them know your plan. Get your plan on paper. The more people you can safely let in, the more support you’ll have on those days where your new habits are hard to implement.

Celebrate the milestones. Big and small.

If you’re waiting until you lose 150 pounds, or sleep eight hours every night for a year straight, you’re missing out on a lot of dance parties. So, pick one thing to start tomorrow. Tell a friend, and get going!