‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.’
Read the quote above again and give it a moment to let it sink in.
We are all a product of our habits – both good and bad.
Your view of yourself, how you perceive others see you, your relationship with food and how you approach your training is all born out of the habits that you have developed since you were born.
You have been programming yourself, developing your thoughts, beliefs and forming the habits you have today, well before you had any concept of them.
Habits can be good – a consistent training program, nutritional compliance over a period of time or reading a book to your child before bed.
Habits can also be bad – takeaway dinners every night, grabbing a cookie every time you walk past the jar, not giving 100% effort with your training.
Every time I go to my Mother’s house I’ll go to the fridge and look to see what’s in there .
It’s often not because I’m hungry and rarely if ever do I grab something to eat. It’s just something that I have done since childhood getting home after school.
Our Habits Create The Body That We Live In
Genetics are not an excuse. Instead of blaming or looking at your genetics as the reason why you can’t do something look at your habits.
Your body composition, your muscle mass, flexibility, athletic performance are going to be more result of your habits. Your genetics will determine the potential gains or losses you can make but rarely do people ever get close to their genetic limits.
Habits become so engrained that you do them on autopilot, without being conscious of them which is why they are so powerful.
They can be a strong pushing force towards your goal just as they can be the handbrake to your success.
Recognising which habits that are taking you further away from your health and fitness goals is the first step to making change.
This awareness will go a long way to helping you to even out the good/bad habit imbalance that is holding you back from where you want to be.
Your brain really likes habits.
It likes the repetition.
It’s easy and takes less effort.
It means you can spend a vast majority of the day on autopilot.
Think about your daily routines. Most of these will be repetitive and allow you do them without thinking too much.
This is why making a change or breaking a habit is hard.
Your having to work against what’s natural or what feels normal. Your brain doesn’t like this!
If you’ve got a long term habit, such as getting take away for dinner (or any other meal for that matter), then breaking that habit is going to be difficult.
You could go cold turkey tomorrow, but for most people this is too difficult and may ultimately lead to failure and feelings of negativity about breaking that habit.
What if instead you were to plan one meal per week to eat at home?
One meal in the first week, two meals in the second week and so on….the smallest possible change.
A gradual change in the habit and in the process creating a new one is more likely to result in long term compliance and meaningful change.
Over the course of seven weeks you will have moved from having seven takeaway dinners to seven home cooked meals.
Think about what habits you have now that might be holding you back from achieving your goals.
It might be a lack of consistency or intensity with your training.
It might be eating too much processed food, finishing the kids meals or drinking alcohol too often.
Write them down and pick one that is that you feel is the easiest to change.
What is the smallest step you can make to changing that habit?
Once you’ve got this down, move on to the next step, the next change and eventually the next habit.
Let us know how you go and if you are having trouble identifying these bad habits then get in touch.