First of all, choose a habit or goal to follow that is specific in scope. Goals such as to lose weight, manage stress better or eat a healthier diet are worthy habits to achieve but are unfortunately too vague. Be sure to set a specific, measurable goal (i.e., lose two pounds of bodyweight in two weeks, exercise each day to lessen your stress level, eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day).
PICK ONE HABIT AT A TIME and work on it for at least a month to ensure it sticks. Habits are simply routines that you barely think about but just do. Your brain should be on autopilot when you perform a habit. When this occurs, the habit has become ingrained into your life. But in order to develop a habit, you must develop it methodically.
A habit or goal is not something that you should do but rather something you want to do. If you do not want to exercise and eat healthier in order to lose weight, chances are you will not succeed in achieving your goal. To ensure you follow your chosen habit, be sure to give yourself a reward when you make progress along the way. Say you hit the gym for three days during the week with each workout lasting an hour. Go to the movies on the weekend to give yourself a reward for a job well done.
When developing your habit, be sure to incorporate a small change to support your chosen habit. For example, if your habit is to perform 40 pushups each morning, try doing as many pushups as you can the first day and incrementally add one extra pushup each successive day. You're more likely to succeed in achieving your goal by making a small change each day--in the previous example, adding one extra pushup each day will get you closer toward ultimately achieving your goal. The is a behavioral change you've incorporated into your life in order to accomplish your goal. Once the goal is achieved (e.g., 40 pushups), continue performing this goal so that it becomes a habit (e.g., performing 40 pushups every day).
After you've chosen your habit, be sure to tell a friend or family member to make yourself accountable. You wouldn't want to let your friend down by not attempting and ultimately achieving your goal habit. If you fail to achieve your chosen habit, don't worry. Instead, modify your habit to make it more achievable and start over.
Here are some ideas for healthy habits:
Remember to choose ONLY ONE habit to develop at a time and master it before moving on to another habit. After you've chosen your habit, write it down. Now write down three motivators for doing the habit, the obstacles you'll likely come across, and how to overcome these obstacles. For example, I've chosen the habit of getting up earlier each morning to do some interval sprints on the track for twenty minutes before working with clients. My three motivators are: to lean out my midsection to obtain more defined abs; to feel good and more energized during the day; and to feel good about myself. The obstacles I'm likely face are: not feeling motivated to getting up earlier each morning; not wanting to drive to the track without incentive (i.e., clients scheduled around my sprint sessions). I will overcome these obstacles by setting the alarm clock to ensure I wake up and get out of bed earlier and ensuring my clientele schedule is accommodating to my sprint sessions.
Ensure you stick to your habit by sharing it with your friends and loved ones. You can use Facebook, Twitter, email, or whatever to let your peeps know about your habit. Then make a deadline for when you expect to maintain this habit for the long-term and let your friends know to keep you accountable. Keep your friends updated on the progress of your habit to ensure you stick with it. To help you with this, schedule your habit in your calendar and keep a journal to track your progress.
Check out the following websites that have tools to develop and maintain healthy habits:
Brian Danley, CFT
"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."
Brian Danley, CFT "Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going." 408-688-1586 (cell) briandanleyfitness.com https://www.linkedin.com/in/briandanleyfitness https://www.facebook.com/BrianDanleyFitness
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I'm a personal trainer who loves to help others fulfill their health and fitness goals. I consider myself a bodybuilder in that I live the lifestyle of eating healthy food, working out regularly, and sculpting my body.