I’m sure you’re wondering “ how do I start healthy lifestyle habits?” It seems daunting. But you don’t need to change everything immediately.
A habit is a small behavioural change that you’ll continue over time. So this means setting outlandish goals is silly. I’m sorry to disappoint, but losing 50kg in two months is not going to happen. These unrealistic goals and expectations, more often than not, are what cause people to fall off the wagon.
Creating an unachievable target will not help you commit to healthy lifestyle habits that are consistent, and become second nature in your everyday life.
So, here’s what to focus on instead:
Let me explain.
- Trigger – the cue to begin the action
- Routine – doing the action itself
- Reward – the prize for completing the action (can be short or long-term)
How does all this this help to form healthy lifestyle habits?
Let’s look at exercise.
Assuming the habit you hope to stick to is a regular exercise routine, we can use the formula above to help.
For a lot of people, exercising is most convenient first thing in the morning. But here’s the trick – start creating the optimal conditions the night before. Let me highlight the entire process:
- Place your exercise clothes in a place you can’t avoid them. I’d suggest by the bedroom door. This means you can’t step out of the room without at least picking them up. And now you’ve picked them up, you might as well put them on. In case you’re wondering, this is the trigger.
- Now you’ve put your exercise clothes on, all you need to do is train. Run, lift, whatever you like, seeing as you’re dressed for the occasion it’d be rude not to.
- Good stuff. You’re done. Feel proud of yourself? More energetic? That’s the endorphins kicking in, and that’s your immediate reward. Long-term, the reward is the goal you’re working towards – strength, muscle growth, fat loss. It could be anything, and now you are one step closer.
Now guess what?
It’s a cycle. If you’ve gone through it once, you’re more likely to do it again next time. You know that after you’ve succeeded in something slightly difficult, you’re more likely to do it again.
How do I start?
The process is explained further in Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit. So here’s what you should do (and this seems to be a trend with Auro):
Start small – make it easy to begin a new habit. Avoid lofty goals.
I haven’t explained the best part yet. This seems to be revelatory for many people:
Focus on the type of person you want to become.
Rather than feeling guilty or resentful for not doing something, you should be kind to yourself.
First say to yourself “I am type of person to get up and exercise”. Because you actually can. You can stick to a fitness plan, you can eat healthily, you can go work out.
It’s all within the realms of possibility, you just need to break the habit of setting unrealistic goals, and start setting yourself manageable targets. This will get you your desired results, and in the short term you’ll feel proud for sticking to these new healthy habits.
And so you should.