LEAN POWERS of Habit
We all have habits - whether we realize it or not, a lot of the decisions we make are based off of our developed habits. Habits are those things you become so accustomed to, it becomes an automatic choice — a moment where we make a choice without even thinking.
Think about your morning and evening routines. When you wake up, there are certain things you do every single day without even thinking: brushing your teeth, washing your face, making a coffee. I bet that sometimes you do things without even realizing! Sometimes our habits can seem insubstantial on their own, but over time and in combination with other habits you have, they can have a huge impact on your health, productivity, and happiness (and LEANNESS!!)
Habits are present in all aspects of life whether it’s your morning routine, or the decisions you make regarding fitness and nutrition. Getting HEALTHIER and LEANER is all about creating healthy, SUSTAINABLE habits around exercise and food that fit your lifestyle; habits that you can follow and stick to on a daily basis. In the realm of health and fitness, habits are so powerful, they can make a HUGE difference in helping you reach your LEAN goals! On the LEANSQUAD, we believe in encouraging our Squadies to create healthy habits - not restrictions.
How Do We Create Healthy Habits?
Now you’re probably wondering well, how do I create a healthy habit, or how do I CHANGE or get rid of my bad habits? Well, it comes down to one thing - overriding or replacing your bad habits with good ones, and the more effective tool to help you do this is willpower. Looking at Charles Duhigg’s TEDx talk on the Power of Habit, he explains how to utilize and hold your willpower until the time you need to make the decision. He says that you cannot just say, “I’m going to lose weight” and expect it to happen. Similar to our discussion about Goal Setting last week, you need to take small lean steps to help you break your bad habits and create new, better ones! For example, if every morning you stop at coffee shop to get a morning coffee and a muffin/donut/pastry for breakfast, you need to identify that this is not a healthy habit or routine and replace it with a better one! In other words, figure out what bad habits you have that are getting in the way of you losing weight and use premeditated (1) CUES and (2) REWARDS to overcome your bad habit.
A cue is an event or trigger that leads to you acting in a certain way. A cue is the BEGINNING of your habit. Looking at the coffee shop example above, the cue here would be going to the coffee shop and seeing all the pastries while waiting to order your coffee. In order to override this cue and create a healthier habit, you have make a conscious change to to avoid allowing that cue to trigger your habit! For example, at exactly that time you would be leaving to go to the coffee shop, instead of lining up and waiting to order your coffee, try ordering on your phone (if the coffee shop has mobile orders) so you can override that cue. Alternatively, you could prepare breakfast the night before (such a some delicious LEANSQUAD overnight oats) to replace your muffin or pastry. Eventually that will become your new cue and will help you create that new, healthier habit.
A reward is exactly what you think — it’s a mini celebration of that positive choice! On the LEANSQUAD, we believe it is VERY important to celebrate your successes and achievements, and breaking a bad habit is no exception! So, after you follow through with your new cue (after you have successfully resisted the pastry for breakfast) it’s time to reward yourself! Your reward can be anything (that does not counteract your positive choice of course!!) such as giving yourself an extra 5 minutes of lunch break, or getting a large coffee instead of a medium. FOCUSING on the reward can help you harness the willpower you need to get rid of a bad habit. Eventually, this new routine will become your habit and there won’t be a need for the reward.
When it comes to breaking habits and creating new ones, it all comes down to mindfulness. You have to be SUPER conscious of the decisions you are making, make yourself aware of the cues and rewards you need to reach your goals and create better habits. Make yourself aware of what cues your bad habits and use willpower to change it. Willpower is like a mental muscle, you must exercise it regularly (and give it the occasional break) in order to succeed. No matter where you are in your life, you all have the ability to make fitness and good nutrition a habit - with a bit of willpower and mindfulness you WILL succeed!
For all the Squadies that read last weeks blog post on goal setting, here is my goal setting chart available to download! Now that you’ve had a week to think about what you want to achieve in 2019, it’s time to write it all down and get started on making your goals a reality, one step at a time! If you haven’t had a chance to read my goal setting blog check it out HERE !