“The older they are the bigger they get the deeper the roots grow and the harder they are to uproot.” Darren Hardy, The Compound Effect.
I’ve been thinking a lot about habits lately and why they’re so freaking hard to change. This quote says it all. Few things in life are more powerful than our habits. Whether they’re good or bad, once a habits are established, they’re extremely hard to break.
In this article I’m going to teach you how to break your bad habits and actually stick to it this time. In turn, I’m also going to get help you reach your goals. It might not be easy- habit change never is- but if you put in the work you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how simple habit change can be.
1. Identify when your habit kicks into high gear.
Let’s say your goal is weight loss but most nights you’re logging onto Foodler and ordering delivery instead of cooking the chicken you’ve had thawing in the fridge all day. Once you finish your Chinese takeout, it’s only then that you remember your weight loss goal and begin to immediately regret ordering out. This can feel like a huge let down, but this situation is actually the perfect time to reflect.
Ask yourself: what happened today that made me more inclined to get delivery instead of cook?
>Had a stressful day at work?
>Stayed at work extra late?
>Didn’t feel like eating chicken?
>Significant other wanted take out so you jumped on board?
Whatever the reason, once you figure it out you’ll be more likely to stick to your guns next time the same situation arises. In other words, you’ll prepare yourself to face the same challenge head on.
In the past when I’d have a stressful morning at work 9 times out of 10 I’d stop at CVS on my way home and pick up some kind of “treat.” I’d inhale my pop-tarts, get down on myself for eating them, then eat more on the way back to work because I’d be so stressed about going back and being all stressed out all over again.
Stress at work was my trigger, pop-tarts were my “reward” and thus each time I was stressed I’d grab the pop-tarts which became my habit.
Once I identified my trigger, I was about to get a better handle on how I would react to it and thus broke the CVS/Pop-tart habit.
2. Set yourself up for success.
Chances are you’ve tried to change a habit or two in your lifetime and chances are you’ve probably been unsuccessful. It happens. A lot. Remember, the more deeply rooted a habit is, the harder it will be to change. Lots of times though we get to the point of “enough is enough” and rely on sheer willpower to break the habit.
Let’s say to help you reach reach your weight loss goal you decide you’re going to stop getting a donut each morning on your commute to work and are instead going to prep a breakfast to take to work each day.
Thursday comes along and you miss your alarm so you’re rushing to work. You got home late last night and didn’t have time to prep breakfast. Your only option is to swing by Dunks, pick up your coffee and you might as well get a donut. You beat yourself up for not being able to stick to your new plan for even 4 days and throw the new plan out the window and resume your habit of getting a donut each day.
Raise your hand if this sounds familiar.
If you really want a new habit to stick, slow and steady wins the race.
Instead of vowing to prep breakfast for all five days in the work week, why not start with two or three? There’s no rule that says habit change has to be hard and fast. Ease your way into it and look at it this way- two or three less donuts each week is going to get your way further along than going without for 4 days, getting discouraged and going back to eating them daily.
3. Get specific on *why* you want to break this habit.
It’s really not enough to simply say something like “I want lose weight.”
Sure it’s a terrific goal, but why is it your goal?
Once upon a time I had a client who came to me with a goal of weight loss. I asked her why she wanted to lose weight and she sat silent for a second then said “that’s a stupid question.” I couldn’t get her to understand how establishing a strong reason for why she wanted to lose weight was so important.
Well, this is why: If you don’t have a reason that pulls at your heart and evokes emotion in you, you’re probably not going to reach that goal. If you want to lose weight to be healthier, that’s great, but it’s just not enough. You have to make a really strong case for weight loss.
Something like: I see how much my parents struggle with their weight and all the health problems they’re having. Every time one of them calls me I panic because I’m afraid something bad has happened. I want a family someday and I don’t want my kids worrying about me like this. I also don’t want to have to worry about going to several doctors’ appointments every week and taking time away from my family to do so like they did when I was growing up.
Do you see how that’s a stronger reason to want to lose the weight? Every time you have a dip in motivation (because it does happen- to all of us- and it’s totally normal) you’ll remind yourself of your why. If it doesn’t kick your butt back into gear, it’s not a strong enough why.
4. Make a plan.
You want to lose weight. You’ve established your why, but what about your how?
There are thousands of diets out there to choose from. Our eyes light up like a kid on Christmas when we see a diet that promises big results in just three weeks.
Understandable, but remember the first tool in this article?
Set yourself up for success- slow and steady wins the race.
Yes, you can lose a bunch of weight in a few weeks on a restrictive diet, but I can pretty much guarantee that if you do, you’ll gain back the weight you lost… and then some. I’ve been at this stuff for a while and I see it all.the.time.
A better goal would be: Starting on October 4th I’m going to eat a dinner that includes lean protein and veggies. I will wait to go back for seconds for at least 20 minutes. If I’m still truly hungry, I’ll eat a half portion.
Then follow through.
Practice that and only that for three weeks and if all is going well and you feel comfortable, begin another goal.
Small changes is how I coach my people. One choice, one change, one habit at time. I want to help you because this stuff is TOUGHT! There are less than 48 hours to enroll in membership group Living Lean Lifestyle Club. This club is unlike anything I’ve put out there before.
LLLC is a supportive community of strong women who are ready to tackle their fitness and nutrition goals head on and support each other along the way.
I’ll be coaching you and giving you the exact steps you need to reach your goals and the other ladies will be your support system, your accountability, your tribe.
Whether your goal is fat loss, getting consistent with your workouts or just finding ways to live a healthier life, you’ll find your home here.
I am currently taking new members into LLLC and there are 10 spots remaining. As soon as those spots fill up or come June 1 (whichever comes first) the doors are closing. You can join us now for just $25/month. You don’t want to miss out. Trust me.
For more info, click HERE and grab your spot.