a usual way of behaving : something that a person does often in a regular and repeated way.
Hello beautiful people!
Habits. If there’s one thing I’ve talked a lot about is habits. Overall it could safely be said our life is driven by habits… things we do in regular, predictable ways. We eat, shower, go to sleep at a set time and wake up most likely the same way. You may have regular ways you get dressed and prepare for your day or how you take your coffee.
In a soothing way our habits can be a comfortable and normal part of our life.
We can also have negative habits in our lives that we want to get rid of. These obviously, vary individual but we would all likely agree that negative habits are best replaced by something more positive.
When it comes down to eating or exercise I frequently hear from people that these are things they “want to do” or “get better at doing”.
What they are essentially saying is they want to build some new positive habits into their life.
That… is often easier said than done.
Usually what happens is that the person decides it’s an all or nothing approach and dives right in.
Exercise? They take on to much to soon and hurt…so they quit determining it’s not worth it…it’s to hard.. they got to sweaty….they’re breathing hard with a pounding heart… don’t see any results.. (results take time and consistency people)
Food ? They immediately go on a drastic and restrictive eating plan that leaves them hungry, moody, and wanting to eat everything they now believe they are not “supposed ” to eat. Ultimately, they just give in, hungry and feeling deprived and go back to old ways determining it’s to hard and nothing is happening anyway.
New habits take time to build. They require a determination to take it one small step at a time and a desire to keep building on it each and every day.
It requires a tenaciousness to keep on even when we might not feel like we nailed it for that day to get up and keep moving forward.
You see small things we do will become habits. …which will lead to bigger things.
We just don’t view small things as mattering so much… we look for the big, grand, instant fix and it’s just not really like that in the context of health, fitness and an overall lifestyle change.
In that context, slow, small and steady win the long term race..
What if instead of drastically altering your diet you just started focusing on one thing you wanted to change?
Soda drinker? Maybe you want to try to replace one or two a day with water instead.
Fast food junkie who can’t pass a drive thru? why not plan and pack a few healthy things in your car if you just can’t make it home to get something to eat ( hint: you really won’t starve to death before you get home. I’ve applied this theory many times now 😉
Over eat at meals? learn to eat slower, take a little less, learn to really taste and savor what you are eating. Learn to stop when you are comfortably satisfied… and that might mean you leave food on your plate.
Sugar junkie? learn to be selective of the sweets you eat. Try to wean yourself a little at a time.
Not a big veggie or fruit eater? Work to add one or two new ones a week. In time try to increase your daily intake.
Exercise… if you’re moving from the couch to outside taking it easy in the beginning is your number one priority. You don’t want to get to enthusiastic and then hurt the next day so you can’t hardly move around.
The key is to find the thing you enjoy and gradually, skillfully work into it. Your body requires time to adapt and adjust to the new demands being put on it.
Good news… your body is an amazing instrument that can adapt and change and get stronger! You just need to pace yourself accordingly to let your body do what it’s made to do.
Set small, realistic goals for yourself in the beginning. As you give yourself time to adjust to physical demands, you can then slowly add a little more to your exercise regime.
Be patient with yourself. Changes in your body do take time. Your cardiovascular strength as well as your muscular strength need consistent work but it will come.
I was in the store yesterday looking through magazines when the lady stocking them asked me what I was looking for. I told her I was after one called “Strong” but didn’t know if the new copy was out yet.
She looked at my bare arms and said… “well, you look really strong!”
And now days, I guess I do, but that has been a slow and steady process. I wanted to tell her several years ago my arms were just…arms… with no visible muscles at all. No definition, no cuts, no nothing. Just chubby looking, undefined arms.
I didn’t get “strong” over night.
You know what it was? Small things I did that led to regular habits in my life. Habits of exercise and eating better. Habits of moving my body longer and farther. Habits of learning to lift heavier things not just to get muscles, but to kick butt in daily life.
Those small things lead ultimately to bigger changes in me.
Weight loss. Better lab numbers. Smaller clothes. More energy. Better mental clarity. Confidence and empowerment. Better nutrition. Healthy looking body.
None of it happened overnight. All of it was built on the simple truth that I just did consistent small things that lead to new positive habits.
Do I have bad days? you bet I do. Have I learned by now that I just need to keep on with small steps, always moving forward? Absolutely.
So, my suggestion for you, if you’re wanting to make changes, to get into a healthy lifestyle.. one that’s permanent…
Focus on small changes at a time. It will be more lasting, easier to accomplish and not leave you feeling deprived, exhausted, starving or wanting to throw in the towel.
And remember, it’s not instant gratification, you’re in it for life. Be patient and don’t give up on yourself.
Have you struggled getting started on a healthy lifestyle path? What has hindered you? Do you think the idea of small things to build new positive habits is something you can easily do or is more attainable?