Make your
habits stick

Follow these 5 steps

January 2, 2017

Follow these 5 steps

January 2, 2017

You’ve probably already experienced this yourself: So often you kick-off a new health and fitness plan with the best of intentions. You train consistently and start to see results and then something pops up; a birthday, a wedding, work drinks or a night out with friends. You are left with a decent hangover looking for food to console your sore head. Suddenly getting back into training seems so much harder and the distance between where you are and your goal seems to stretch.

The key lies in creating positive habits. How well do your everyday habits align with your health and fitness goals? It’s true that we become what we repeatedly do, so setting an exciting goal is not enough. We need daily action that paves the way from where we are now right to that moment when we achieve that big, hairy, audacious goal. But don’t let this put you off, as it’s easier than you think.

Start by setting your goal and uncovering your why. Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California, found that writing down your goal makes you 42% more likely to achieve it. Writing down your goal forces you to get clear about what you want. Make your goal specific, measurable and timely. You need to know when you have reached it in order to celebrate the achievement. Uncovering your why is the most important part to this whole process. If you understand why you are driven towards a certain goal it is far easier to overcome barriers when they pop up. And they will. Knowing your why will move your journey from an effort to something that’s challenging but absolutely worth it.

Start to create positive habits by critically evaluating your time and recognising the parts of your life that are self-sabotaging barrier habits. These are the habits that are stopping your from progressing towards your goal, the habits that always seem to sit in the way. They may not seem like huge aspects of your life but trust me, they all add up. Once you have this list, identify which habits are the main offenders and then decide whether you are willing to give up that habit or give up on your goal.

 

My mission is to motivate and inspire others to be the best version of themselves. To help people achieve their health and fitness goals and find balance in their lives to make the shift from feeling average to feeling awesome.

Hannah Porteous 

The next step is to identify the habit swap. Find a habit that contributes towards your goal (or at least doesn’t detract from it) to replace the barrier habit. When I think about the times that my clients have made drastic changes look effortless, it’s when they identify these sabotages and swap them for something else that fills the same need. For example: One of my clients had jam-packed, anxiety-filled work days and would come home to a glass of wine to relax and ‘switch off’. This habit was costing her progress towards her strength and body composition goals. She needed to wind down without alcohol and started practising yoga instead which helped to de-stress while building towards her goals. Keep in mind, these swaps will be different for everyone.

Be consistent. Be patient. Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London found that it takes 66 days on average to form a habit. Now while this may seem disheartening for those looking for a quick fix I believe it’s important to understand what is ahead of you. Change takes time. Change takes consistent daily action in the direction of your goal. The good news here is it doesn’t matter if you slip up here and there. Just make sure the net result of your actions is positive.

Make it social. Statistics show us that training with a friend or in a group provides a host of great benefits. People tend to train harder, for longer and are less likely to quit during sessions when training with a buddy. It keeps you accountable, motivated and let’s be honest, it’s a whole lot of fun.
Training with someone is not the only way to make a habit social. Choose an activity that supports your habit swap and create an event to get people together. As Jim Rohn, a motivational speaker said, we are the average of the five people that we spend the most time with. Make sure you are surrounding yourself with people who inspire you, push you out of your comfort zone and support you.

You’ve got this.

Make it stick by following these 5 steps

1. Set a meaningful goal. 
2. Identify major barrier habits. 
3. Do a habit swap.
4. Be consistent.
5. Make it social.

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