We are what we repeatedly do
Fall is a time for change. And what a better time to to use habits to reach your goals. Below are tips to help power through the season change and keep yourself motivated.
What motivates you? What’s your WHY? Understanding the core of why you want to initiate a particular habit is essential for success. Starting with why incorporates your values and is what will inspire you. There are a million and one reasons why regular exercise is good; it reduces the risk of premature death, benefits your mental health, boosts your immune system, strengthens your cardiovascular system and musculoskeletal health, and reduces your risk of many types of cancer. But you need to find your own why. Maybe exercise is your outlet for grinding out the negative energy; or it clears your head and re-energizes you. Or maybe working out is a confidence booster and reaffirms that “Yeah I’m a Badass” feeling. Whatever your WHY, always keep that in mind when you are struggling to maintain your healthy habit.
On some days, maintaining a good habit is going to feel like a chore. Exhaustion, having a bad day, and feeling burnt out are common reasons why many forgo their workout. Instead of viewing the habit as something that is miserable, difficult, or dreadful, try adding a novel aspect to your habit. Add three new songs to your workout playlist everyday, go to a MOJO instructor’s class that you haven’t tried yet, experiment with other types of cardio, mix up your running route, switch when you schedule your good habit - try the morning if you are a night-owl or vice versa. Anticipation for something new will reignite your motivation and will make the habit something to actually look forward to that day and less like a chore.
A key component to accomplishing a healthy habit is to assess how realistic it is for you personally. Aim for a sweet spot that is not too easy nor too challenging. It may not be realistic to aim for 60 minutes of cardio exercise everyday if you haven’t hit the gym since your last PE class in high school. And of course it is ok to start small! If you aim too high, you may be setting yourself up for failure and disappointment. Try to hit the ‘sweet spot’. Crushing your first healthy habit scores a huge confidence boost and prompts you to take it the next level!
Scheduling time for your habit may be easier for some (Type A personalities unite!), but it is a key ingredient for success. Use a planner notebook or one on your phone and take 20 minutes to block out enough time for your habit for every day. Have meetings all afternoon on Wednesday? Knock your workout earlier in the morning. Running errands all morning? Block out 60 minutes at noon. Scheduling it ahead of time eliminates the mental energy of scrambling to squeeze it into your schedule last minute and reinforces the probability that you get to it that day. Give yourself permission to prioritize this time for yourself. It ultimately benefits everyone around you. Remember to take care of yourself because you can’t pour from an empty cup.
5. Keep Track
Stay consistent by utilizing a form of visual record that represents your success! For example, hang up a calendar in your room and each day you accomplish your habit, make a huge mark through that day. The visual record is a reminder of your progress and how much you have already done. It gives you immediate gratification and the momentum to reach your goal.
Whether your habit is related to exercising more, flossing regularly, getting a better night’s sleep, eating better, or something completely different, incorporating these tips can aid in the maintenance of good habits. And Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”