A Surprising Fact About Building and Keeping New Fitness Habits …
How many times have you heard that it takes just a few weeks to develop a new habit?
The truth is a bit more complicated than that, but there are scientific ways to help you lock in the changes you want to make.
The myth about behavior becoming automatic in 21 days started when journalists misinterpreted a popular self-help book on Psycho Cybernetics back in the 1960’s.
After all, you can probably eat more vegetables starting today, but complex tasks like playing the violin are going to take more than a month to gel.
On the other hand, now is an ideal time to begin forming constructive habits that will enhance your happiness and wellbeing.
Take a look at these strategies for learning new behaviors:
Basic Strategies for Habit Formation
Try these tips for easing into your new routines as quickly as possible:
- Plan ahead.
Eliminate excuses by plotting out your course in advance.If you want to wake up an hour earlier, go to bed on time, and dream about the invigorating yoga class and delicious breakfast that await you in the morning.
- Be consistent.
Regularity reinforces itself.Pretty soon it will be easier to go to the gym after work rather than changing your mind, even if it’s raining or your colleagues are heading out for beer and pizza.
- Spot triggers.
Kicking a habit requires you to notice what happens right before you bite your nails or buy another pair of shoes.Are you bored at work or arguing with your spouse?
- Develop substitutions.
Once you know your cues, you can choose a different response. Take a walk or invite a friend out for coffee.
- Review your reasons.
Go over the reasons why you want to adopt your new behavior.Remind yourself about how drinking water instead of soda will help you slim down, strengthen your bones, and save money.
- Personalize your goals.While you’re contemplating your reasons, visualize your future self.Focus on what you have to gain instead of just pleasing others.
Advanced Strategies for Habit Formation
What if you’re tackling something as ambitious as managing diabetes or transforming your dead-end dating history?
These ideas will give you an extra boost:
- Practice compassion with others … and yourself!You’re bound to slip up occasionally.Also, it’s important to forgive yourself, and move forward – let the baggage go!
- Team up.Enlist a friend so you can exchange support and encouragement. Eat lunch with a colleague who is trying to lose weight too.
- Keep a gratitude journal.Every single day take 5 minutes and write down 4 things you are grateful for.It can be anything, big or small.Do this every single day.
As your fitness journey continues, you’ll realize that doing the small things every day matter a lot.
Stay disciplined and committed to the work and you’ll always reach your mark!