We all know what we have to do, but we don’t always do it.
That’s not just in health and fitness but in work, finance and relationships. Why? Because sometimes it’s not the easiest thing to do and we can always find something else to do in its place.
We can do some things now and again, for example going to the gym or eating a healthy meal, which to be honest is simple, but becomes much harder when we have to do it consistently over and over again.
So how do we start instilling these basic habits into our daily routines? There are three parts to this:
The first step is being aware and honest with yourself to what changes you need to make.
Do you need to drink more water, sleep more at night or stick to a gym program?
Or is it a negative habit that is holding you back for example phone usage? This was – and at other times still is – a big behaviour change I needed to make. Over two years ago I was aware that I was spending too much time at night laying in my bed on my phone. We all know that’s not healthy.
The action I took was to charge my phone outside my room. Thankfully this habit has stuck and even when I’m staying in a hotel I’ll always charge it at the furthest charging point in the room.
My phone is my alarm and I still hear it when it’s in the other room, so that excuse is out the window. And even if you think you won’t hear the alarm on your phone, buy a cheap alarm clock and keep it in your room. You’ve no chance of scrolling through Instagram with it.
An extra bonus is that I now read a lot more. I’m filling my head with information which I choose to read and not what is forced upon me by social media.
Choose one thing
When you are really aware and honest with yourself you may come up with a few things you would like to change.
You may want to drink more water, eat three healthy meals a day, don’t eat after 7pm, snack less, do three strength sessions a week, add in two cardio sessions, meditate in the morning, journal, go to bed earlier and wake up earlier.
The list could go on but just pick one of these.
One study showed that if you focus on one behaviour change you have an 85 per-cent chance of being successful.
If you try and change two behaviours at the same time the rate of success is 40-45 per-cent. If you focus on three things at once then it drops right down to 4-5 per-cent.
For example, if you want to change your eating habits you may start with not eating after 7pm. Rather than worrying about what and how much you eat, just focus on not eating after 7pm. Once you do this consistently over time then you can look at changing another behaviour.
Set a time frame
Once you have chosen your one habit it’s time to set a number of days that you are going to commit to.
Some people suggest 30 days but I have found that it can be too short and after the 30 days the habit doesn’t stick.
Others have suggested 66 days. It’s an easy number to remember and a long enough period for your new behaviour to become automatic.
To help you to become more accountable invest in a calendar and circle off each day you complete your new habit.
Even post it on social media or text a friend each day. This means there is no hiding place and others are holding you accountable, increasing further your likelihood for success.