Habits are brilliant (apart from the bad ones)
They make doing things easier, you don’t have to think about it, takes up less thought process, requires no willpower and positive habits enhance your life
Imagine driving home from work and having to remember/ think about EVERY tiny detail like it was your first time in a car again…exhausting!
However forming them can be a royal pain in the arse
You have to repeat the thing you WANT to do frequently enough for the habit to form, which takes planning, requires energy, will power and all those things you are trying to avoid
So the hard step at the beginning is working out WHAT it is you actually want to achieve and then what’s required for it to happen
Someone who is the absolute KING in this area and someone i have had the pleasure of attending lectures by him as well as listening to numerous podcasts he’s on (links below) is coach Stevo of www.habitry.com, and during these i learnt a great technique from him around the formation of habits…but not in a way you might think
You have a goal, and end game or an outcome…which you possibly obsess over.
I want to be……… (Insert one of 20 health/ weight/ Nutrition related) goals here
And this OUTCOME is what you focus on…..sometimes OBSESS about
This is not necessarily the best way to go about things, it focuses on the end point…so you are only ever celebrating getting closer to that point or at most achieving it….which can be de-motivating if its a long term objective
You want to regularly achieve something, have mini wins weekly, it will motivate you, it will give you a boost and keep you moving forward
So how about changing the goals..
How about making the steps in the PROCESS the goals
This is PROCESS goals versus RESULTS goals and works for a number of reasons
Once you have finally reached your goals, got your weight down, are more confident and have hopefully finally achieved what you hoped you would get from the journey…..what then?
If you have focused so much on the end game and ignored the steps you took in getting there, what’s to say you won’t just stop doing them…revert back to your old ways….at end up right back where you started??? They have only been a means to an end right?
BUT if you focused on the steps you took, the things you did that were required to make the changes and celebrated each and every time you achieved those minutia events…then they become instilled, they become the end goals and hopefully the habits you are looking to grow from them will carry forward with you
Forming those habits then is an art in itself
• Obviously this needs to be something you WANT to do, and works better if you come up with the plan of action rather than being told
• You need to pick something you are extremely confident you can achieve
• Something you can do frequently enough, daily if possible
• Simple tasks with very few steps
• There needs to be a trigger to remember it, maybe something else you do out of habit each day (this is called piggybacking)
• Is this something that YOU are completely in control of
If all these points are in place then you are cooking on gas and ready to go!
For example, the habit of going to the gym is a complex process of little steps and tasks.
Being a member of a gym, having your kit…getting to the gym
These are just the 3 main ones…but individually they need working on to make sure that the overall goal happens.
So working on the individual stages ensures that once these becomes habitual, the overall process has a much greater chance of being achieved
A client of mine, who trains with me, twice a week has struggled to get to the gym in her own time…even though she knows it would accelerate her results, even though when she is there she actually doesn’t mind it…and even though as she walks home she practically walks within 100m of the entrance.
But she’d get home from work and the couch (+made in Chelsea) was more enticing than heading back out
So how do we get from the couch to the gym?
Well firstly ….why was she on the couch in the first place?
She had to go home to get her kit
So after a few questions, she came up with the idea(with a little helpful steering) that if she had her kit with her on the way home there was a MUCH higher chance of her going to the gym
BUT we weren’t working on the gym part for now
At this point all we wanted to work on was that every night she kit packed her gym kit into her work bag
Triggered by going to bed and her work bag being in the corridor of her flat (piggybacking on the already formed habit of leaving her bag out)
Next to the airing cupboard where the kit was…perhaps even using a post it note to remind her if necessary
Then when she was walking home, WITH her kit…we had now removed one of the main obstacles of not carrying on past that junction to the gym…the point where she would normally turn left to home to the couch…under the premise of getting her kit!
We also named that junction the ‘junction of life’ so every time she got there it reminded her of her goals
Now she makes the decision to go or not to, her choice, she’s smart and hopefully most of the time she will…which she can take as a WIN!
In the future we will also set goals to go every time, even if for only 5 minutes…again she’s smart and once there doesn’t mind being there so will probably stay a little longer
This in time will lead to someone who regularly pops into the gym after work.
BOOOOOM….the going to the gym habit has been formed and she’s on the path to be the person she wants to be
Via the things those people do rather than the outcome at the end as the goal
As Coach Stevo said he had clients that came to him and wanted to run a marathon, he knew they didn’t REALLY want to run a marathon…no-one does. BUT …they wanted to be the type of person who HAD run marathons…so what characteristics did those people have that we could work on rather than the running a marathon part!
So what end goal do you have? Is that the REAL goal? What is your WHY?
What do you need to do to get there? OR
What does the type of person who is that/ or has done that …do regularly?
Identify and work on those small things…and celebrate them regularly
If you are regularly succeeding in these PROCESSES, the end goal will come without all the fuss of the end game!
Get to work on the small things
Those podcasts with the man himself on:
https://fitnessforfreedom.com/podcast/ – Episode 05