Changing, creating, or eliminating a habit isn’t all that easy but I assume you already knew that. You’re an intelligent (and damn good looking) human and have all the answers locked up inside you for how to live your best life.
Heck, if they’re not inside you then you can do a quick Google search. You’ll find some answers.
Getting from point A to point B, however, is the tricky part. It requires effort (sometimes a lot) to build those small habits that create, well, you. But even when we know what to do it’s still hard as hell to do the damn thing.
We know not putting our own mental and physical health first will leave us feeling crappy but when it comes to doing the things to make us feel good we put up roadblocks. What gives?
“Bad habits are easy to form, but hard to live with. Good habits are hard to form, but easy to live with.”
This statement is often true. Many good habits aren’t particularly fun to adopt, at least not at first. But part of the whole “Success at Fitness/Life” game is about finding ways to support/encourage the not-always-sexy behaviors that serve your goals.
So how can we make good habits easier to form?
Here are a few thoughts to get you started:
1. Start small.
You may have heard of a little book called ‘Tiny Habits’ by BJ Fogg. This is a simple and well-documented principle of starting with a habit so ridiculously small that it’s nearly impossible for you to fail.
Once you nail your first tiny habit, the next step is to start a new one and continue building your tiny habit army.
This concept is ESPECIALLY important to form a new habit in something that doesn’t particularly excite you. For most of our Members that tends to be diet and exercise.
The reality is also that our motivations in different things will make some habits easier than others (sliding scale model for motivation). Not only that is some days are going to be easier than others. Starting small (I’ll also add simple) will greatly increase the likelihood of your success (especially with the ones you don’t enjoy doing).
Remember: Small hinges swing big doors.
2. Focus on the habit first.
After working with hundreds of clients over 10 years I’ve learned one thing: people almost ALWAYS start by focusing on the results. This is typically something like “I want to lose 40 lbs by next year” or “I want to be able to squat 50 more pounds by the end of this program”.
While I don’t believe having tangible goals isn’t inherently bad, I believe that starting with results isn’t the best approach.
Instead, it can be extremely beneficial to stay hard focused on the necessary habits first. While I can’t point to hard data, I’ve found that those who focus on the habits like showing up, making incremental progress over time (1% better!!!), and sticking to a program tend to both have an easier time sticking to it AND get better results.
3. It doesn’t have to be something you like.
I DO believe that the more you don’t like to do something the more difficult it’s going to be to stick to it. I think we can all agree here.
But I also agree that you don’t necessarily have to like something to be able to do it. Sometimes you just have to chalk it up to being part of life and get it done.
For some of you out there, however, there’s going to be a couple HUGE game-changers. First is going to be one of the cornerstones of Self-Determination Theory which is ‘relatedness’ or simply doing it with a like-minded community. The second less scientific principle we believe in at AMP Fitness is that it can be fun.
Another thing to noodle on here is that behavior drives motivation. This means that while you may not be motivated to do a thing, once you start doing it you’ll then become more motivated to keep doing it.
Essentially, “You’re more likely to act your way into feeling than feel your way into acting.” – anonymous
4. Have a starting ritual to make it easier to stick too.
I’ve found that the hardest part for most people is the energy required to engage or start a behavior repeatedly. This could be the energy to show up to the gym in the morning each week or prepare meals for the week.
Finding ways to reduce the starting friction can be the single most important step for some people to NAIL their habit change. These starting rituals are super important for helping you stick to a new habit long enough to make sure it sticks.
In the examples above, starting rituals for getting to the gym in the morning is simply having your gym clothes ready to go, having your work stuff ready to go, or putting it in your calendar. For meal prep you can have a meal delivery service or have a ‘menu’ of easy to prepare meals.
So what next?
You have to take action.
Pick a habit to work on no matter how small and have a plan making it easy to consistently nail.
It won’t happen over night but over time your new way of doing things will become a part of your daily routine and will take less effort to maintain. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just done consistently. #ProgressNotPerfection
Habit change is simple but it’s never easy. You got this.
P.S. If you struggle with your health and fitness habits and need an extra kick in the accountability pants to stay on track, let our team guide you!
P.P.S. All Memberships and trials are 30-days money back if it’s not your jam so you’ve got nothing to lose!