Creating habits beyond our normal daily habits, has become something of a societal expectation, to create a life of purpose and productivity. Implementing new habits can sometimes be incredibly easy such as having a hot bath at the end of the day, sitting in front of a TV all night, taking the dog out for a walk but many of the more beneficial habits that enhance our lives take a bit more time. The old adage of "it takes 21 days to implement a habit" isn't entirely true as it depends on what that habit is and seeing the actual benefit of it. Increasing your water daily for example will generally result in benefits in a short space of time, training daily and progressively overloading that training for noticeable results may be more apparent in 3 months or more.
How can we implement a new habit in the first instance?
1. Building a habit on the back of a current daily habit. Otherwise known as habit stacking. For example when our alarm wakes us in the morning this would be a literal reminder that you will take 5 mins to meditate; or perhaps after brushing your teeth you will make sure you drink a pint of water; or after leaving work you will drive directly to the gym. Having something that you do day in day out is a great flick switch to connect a new habit to.
2. Start small. To often we try to implement a new habit with the expectation of doing at least 20mins of activity a day or quitting smoking / alcohol off the bat. If we graduate the habit in small manageable amounts the likelihood of maintaining this habit is far more realistic. Implement one habit at a time. Trying to do multiple new habits at once will only result in overwhelm and giving up completely.
3. Use your phone calendar to have a reminder for the habit you wish to implement
4. Don't beat yourself up if you slip up. Just get back on it the next day. Don't delay returning to the habit you have decided to commit to.
When life throws shit at us....
Whenever we start to implement a new healthier habit, it often seems like life decides that this is the precise time to throw everything at you. This is where taking time out to breathe is really important. It will help you to manage your stress levels and reground you. And i'm not talking about tons of breathing. Try this simple exercise:
Take a deep breathe in through the nose.
Then inhale a fraction more.
Then strong exhale out through the mouth.
See how you feel. Repeat if necessary.
Moving your body back into a parasympathetic (rest and reset) state will allow you to rationalise and make better choices.
When life becomes truly challenging choose your battles...
Sometimes, everything is going swimmingly well, we've implemented all those brilliant new habits - meditating, journaling, working out, drinking plenty of water, sleeping well, getting outdoors and then life happens. I'm not talking about a bit of a bad day....we can get back on it the next day. But those weeks or months where circumstances are out of your control and you are just managing to get through the week ( for example a death in the family, medical emergency with your partner, incredible ill child, miscarriage) please stop beating yourself up. Do only what you can manage. For example if going to the gym has gone out the window, just try to get outdoors and get some fresh air, if everything else has gone to pot focusing on your sleep and hydration may be all you can reasonably manage. Don't panic. You will get through this and your mind and body will remember those habits you started forming and will respond accordingly when you are in a better headspace. In the meantime, congratulate yourself for the small habits you are achieving daily.
Remind yourself of your why?
Too often we plan to implement new healthier habits to see change and then a few months down the line you are still where you were. To implement change we need to write down our why. This is the reminder we come back to if we ever doubt where we are going or why we are doing. Creating healthier habits is about so much more than an aesthetic. It's about improved mindset, stronger bones and joints, more muscle, better cardio function and immune system. These habits will create a lifetime of greatness.
Staying on track....Mindset and the 3 C's
1.Create a Vision Board - By creating a board of exactly where you want to see yourself For example: If you want to lose weight - what are your real reasons and what are the benefits of that outcome. Perhaps its to reverse diabetes, or to have a healthy pregnancy or improving brain health. Write down how you think you'll feel if you stick to these habits. Then place this vision board in as many places where you will see this and can read it. You will rewire your mindset.
2. Change your Environment - Often it is the people we surround ourselves with that either effects change or ultimately is the self destruct button to a healthier version of the person we want to be. If you know that most of your friends like to meet up for drinks and that's the one thing you don't want to do, you need to make a decision over whether you can realistically meet up with those friends and have a non alcoholic drink or if you need to change the environment. Suggesting meeting up for a walk instead or going out for lunch instead of dinner or going to the beach. Alternatively, if you feel these are the sort of friends who'd push you to drink despite knowing you are trying to work towards a healthier version of you, then maybe they aren't the right people to be around. You will attract what you want from this life. Through healthier choices you will in turn meet people who share the same ethos. This applies to family as well!
3. Consistency - You will hear this relentlessly, but it's true, turning up for yourself consistently is where habits are formed. A healthier and happier version of you exists. It is far better to put in the hard work now than leave it too late. There's a reason why being lazy is easy and being the fittest and healthiest version of yourself is hard because one requires determination and belief in ones self (self worth) the other relies on low self esteem and disregard for longevity of life. With consistency comes confidence and the ability to overcome life's obstacles. You owe that to yourself.
Sometimes, we need someone to be accountable to to truly make these changes...
If creating a new habit for you includes implementing new fitness habits such as learning how to get stronger or leaner; improving your mindset or learning a new skill such as yoga why not consider 121 personal training or yoga to truly get the most out of your training in the most safe and effective way possible.
New yoga courses starting 17th July. If you wish to guarantee your space on these popular courses click the link to book today. Keep an eye out for the next newsletter, as from September there will be further classes and courses coming your way!