Habits are a way you do things, like a certain type of food you ALWAYS eat when you wake up, the specific walk you take with your dog, and the warmup routine you do before your workouts. Most of your habits go unnoticed, you do them without any effort due to the fact you have been doing them for a long time. Habits can also be triggered by external factors like friends, surroundings, and such.
For example, an “underreport” of food intake and weight loss could be due to bad habits. People tend to think they are eating in a deficit, but in reality, they are overeating. This is could be the fault of a bad habit like snacking in between. A good way to tackle this is by writing down everything you eat, so you create awareness.
Through self-analysis, or hiring a good coach, you can search for habits you want to get rid of or improve. But remember it takes time to change habits or develop new ones. It can take up to 300 days to form them. This due to this thing we call “life” chiming in, it can cause external factors mudding in that will make learning new habits taking more time.
Are you willing to change?
When you are trying to change a bad habit into a better one, or with trying to learn new ones, there will be a lot of times that you feel like quitting. You should always remember that who you are, is not set in stone. You can always change yourself and your habits with that at any time you desire. This is also called a ‘growth mindset’. People with a growth mindset are able to adapt and change when necessary while people with a static mindset think that who they are is set for life.
When adopting new habits, it’s important to keep reminding yourself why you are doing it, for what reason do you want to adapt and create new habits? You need motivation and drive from within to form new and sustainable habits.
For example, you want to get fit, healthy, and strong. You choose the “tool” MMA to try and achieve this goal. You sign in for your local gym to train 5 days a week, Mondays to Fridays. It’s important to go to the training session even though you are tired when it rains when you don’t feel like it.
Going to the training every day, each week, every month, it becomes a routine. And after a while, you will go there on auto-pilot, regardless. That’s why it’s so important to implement new habits every day until it eventually becomes second nature. And yes, you will experience less workable habits coming back to haunt you now and then, that’s because we are all human. Everyone slips up once a while. The best thing you can do is getting back on track as soon as possible after the slip-up. This way you have a bigger chance to stay in your flow. Try to keep the slip-ups to a minimum, and you are well on your way to creating a sustainable habit for life.
Why is creating new habits a hard thing to do?
To try and form new habits you need a good dose of knowledge (how to get one step closer to creating the habit each day) and a whole lot of focus to stay in the process. Without the knowledge chances are you won’t learn sustainable habits and only make changes for a short period of time, before falling back into old ways.
Think about organizing your day. How many times did you plan a training session in the gym, while have planned a ton of other work around it, and due to your other plans taking more time than you thought, you skipped the training session. This is a prime example of not having a sustainable daily schedule. You should always want to aim to create a schedule that offers you some breathing room for when things don’t go the way you plan.
Habits should be sustainable for the rest of your life, not just temporary. You can work 80 hours a week for a short amount of time, but eventually when you get older you will burn out.
Context is also key to creating habits. Besides that, you need the right amount of focus and drive, without that it’s really hard to create new habits. Think about the last time you didn’t have a good night rest and slept for only a few hours, how was your focus the day after? Probably pretty bad. Think about how your focus would be if you have chronic sleep deprivation, have a lot of stress, and taking on a lot more work than you can bargain for. Zero to none. Without focus, you lower the chances of success in achieving that fit, healthy, and strong body you desire. And every time you slip up, you will lose confidence in yourself, and when that keeps adding up, you are signing up for failure.