Habit. A five letter word with simply two syllables. It’s super easy to pronounce isn’t it? But there’s nothing easy about it, well, nothing easy about changing it.
Habits are easily made. Everyone has habits. It’s something we do everyday. We wake up, get out of bed (some of us like to snooze longer than others), we walk ourselves to the bathroom while trying hard not to bump into any walls, we brush our teeth and then we continue on with our day to day lives.
But the most essential thing about habits are which ones we decide to make. People engage in some good habits and then there are bad habits.
How about I use myself as an example for ya?
Old habits, bad habits
– Biting my nails when nervous before an exam
– Going to the vending machine to eat a bag of Dorito’s and sometimes a Snickers bar after a party before knocking out
– A slice of Buffulo chicken pizza after downing about 10 shots of liquor
– Staying up late until 4-5 in the morning studying
– Eating and eating non-stop until I was overly stuffed
– HAVE to eat while watching tv or a movie
This post right here explains it all.
New habits, good habits
– Wake up at 5:30 am, brush my teeth, eat breakfast within 30 minutes of rising
– Write some articles while having breakfast
– Do some school work
– Gave up tv and invested my time in reading about fitness, life, work
– Do my cardio while listening to great ideas on TedTalk.com
– Have my postworkout shake. Shower and get ready for the day (changes)
– I’ll have my 6 meals throughout the day
– 6-7pm I’ll have my lifting session depending on the day.
– Go home. Shower. Clean the house. Take care of any bills.
– More schoolwork. More reading. More researching.
– Then bed. ( that’s if my mind lets me that is 🙁 )
I’m telling you that since I made that change in my habitual routine, my life has completely changed as a whole. The habits that you choose to make in your life determine your outcomes. Isn’t it kind of scary to think that every decision you choose to make in your life and I mean EVERY little decision, determines what your future is going to look like? It’s scary but it’s motivating at the same time. It’s motivating to know that we can change what we don’t like about our lives by taking effective measures in the habits that we engage ourselves in everyday. The habits that you choose to engage yourself in the moment you get off that bed determines your outcome for your day, for your year, for your entire life. So how exactly do you create effective habits for yourself? Well first you’re going to have to get rid of the bad ones.
1. Nike said it best, Just Do it
You can’t just say you’re going to quit a bad habit or say you’re going to stop and expect that you’re going to stop. You need to execute accurate measures by taking action.
Bad Habits: Partying –> Drinking—> Eating pizza + junk before bed —> Gaining weight –> Feeling horrible.
How I changed this? I quit all together. I knew that the reason why I did all those unnecessary activities was because of the partying. So in order to change my life around, I quit partying and therefore quit stuffing my face before bed. Another thing, I was also overweight because I had the horrible habit of HAVING to eat something while watching a movie, so I quit watching tv all together. I invested my time in more important matters like reading about things that pertain to my personal growth and my future.
2. Be Specific
I can’t express how important this is when it comes to changing a habit. You’ve figured out what you want to do, now you need to specify HOW you’re going to do it.
“I want to lose weight.”
Okay, so download an app that will you keep you accountable MyFitnessPal , for example. Start recording your meals and exercises. Figure out how much you need to eat a day in order to lose weight. I’ve written an article on all the best fitness resources to help you here. Plan your workout routine and treat the gym like it’s a meeting with the CEO of your dream company. Training yourself to be this specific will help you to stay dedicated in the long run and will keep you from falling off track. Being specific also means to write things down. This will help to you to remember what it is that you’re focusing on and will your mind to stick with it.
You need to decide what habits that you want to change in your life and then focus on them. It’s your decisions about what to focus on in your life that creates the results that you have been longing for. Immerse your entire mind to focus on how to change that and you believe that will.
3. One Step at a Time
In order to ensure that your new habits get carried out effectively and permanently, you need to be able to take it slowly. Tell yourself what you want to do, take action and be patient. You’re going to slip here and there but you have to be able to be patient and trust your process. Slow and steady always wins the race. Know that any step you take towards becoming better is already something you should be super proud of!
4. Analyze. Adjust. Advance
Changing your habit isn’t something that happens over night. After you make these changes, you’ll find that some things work and some things don’t. So what do you do? You adjust those changes and find ways in which you can make it work.
How I changed the habit of biting my nails?
Attempt 1: Paint them so the bitter taste causes me to stop. Didn’t work.
Attempt 2: Tuck them underneath my thighs when I feel like biting them before an exam. Didn’t work.
How did I change this? I knew that changing a habit is all mental. So I researched what actually lives under my nails. I did enough research to realize that there were disgusting germs underneath my nails and THAT WAS ENOUGH to make me stop for a lifetime.
When you mess up somewhere, learn from it, evaluate and make better decisions thereafter.
5. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
There’s two things here. Repetition and skill. Repetition I have found, is the father of skill. Once you find the right steps that you need to take in changing your habits, repeat it relentlessly. One of the most popular sayings you will hear in the fitness world is “Consistency is key“. You need to be consistent by repeating these good habits so you can make the necessary changes in your life.
6. Expect to fail
When I say fail, it’s meant in the best way possible. I learned through this process that there is absolutely no such thing as failure. Failure does not exist in this world. I think our man Thomas Edison said it best,
” I have not failed. I just found 10,000 that won’t work.”
That’s the result of success. Realize that being able to change your bad habits is already is a huge step. Maintaining them is the hardest part. You WILL slip time to time but if you keep pushing yourself to try harder, if you keep moving forward, there is absolutely no way you won’t ever get to where you need to be.
7. Be proud
EXAGGERATE and become overly enthusiastic about every little progressive change that you have made. I mean every little, eensy weensy bit of progress should be celebrated. It’s important to recognize how far you’ve come and to be proud of it. This serves as motivation to keep you doing what you do as well.
To conclude, this infographic by Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, sums up my point exactly:
Don’t wait for tomorrow. Live a better life today. And you can have it all just by the act of STARTING.