Imagine if everything that needs effort in life ran on autopilot; how fab would it be to have a change of pace. Not having to remember to do chores, go to the gym or exercise, get to work, and stay on top of finances and everything that keeps us up at night.
Let’s get back to reality and hope that technology meets up to our dreams of doing nothing, very soon! Unless you can get Alexa, Siri or Google to put in that daily grind for you on automate, these daily tasks are not just simply going to disappear. However, if you programme some habits into your daily routine, you can reduce much of the stress and struggle from your day.
With a little bit of discipline, we can all create new habits that require low maintenance – and what a perfect time to get started with that, at the start of a new year and new decade!
I’m still working on being disciplined in so many areas of my life, like the next working mum. But one area that I’ve worked on in the past six months (and seen the results for) is for my health and general confidence. I made a commitment to lose weight at the start of the summer of 2019. It wasn’t the first time, but after so many failed attempts, I found someone who wanted to help me try something different. I expected to be told all the things that I couldn’t eat, all the foods I had to eat and the exercise I would probably need to schedule into my day to achieve my goals.
Basically, to give a bit of a back story, I had a total thyroidectomy about eight years ago. I walked into the operation a size 10/12. But, from the moment I took my first Levothyroxine pill, which is an artificial replacement for the thyroid gland, I saw my weight gradually, but steadily creep up to a size I won’t publish for the world to see. In short, I was starting to feel quite depressed about it. I became vegan for six months, but unlike so many celebs who sing its praises for weight loss and total body transformation, I actually gained weight!
Not one to give up, over time, I can say that I have tried all sorts of diets after that catastrophic failure. I’ve signed up to a couple of gyms and committed to classes multiple times a week, but nothing seemed to shift the weight. What was working was my body’s ability to keep expanding in all the wrong places.
So, back to 2019. I decided to: make a last-ditched effort to either get back to a weight and size I would be comfortable with; or consider having surgery (I doubt I would have gone through with it, to be honest); or accept the new curvier me. None of the two latter options were options I genuinely wanted to consider, to be honest.
So, I signed up for a programme with a trainer at my church. Food was on lockdown, fitness plan was put into place. There was no wriggle room at all. I went into it with lots of motivation, and, at times, quite a lot of excuses for why I couldn’t achieve some goals on particular days.
In the end, I learnt that people who are able to get to their target weight are fully committed to the entire process all the time. There is no room for excuses, and eventually, healthy eating and exercise becomes a habit. Some call it a lifestyle, but it has to become a habit first, then it moves into a lifestyle.
Here are some of the top tips and tricks for making new habits stick.
You don’t want to try and completely change your life overnight: the shock to the system might not be sustainable. It can be easy to get over-motivated and try to take on too much. If you wish to change your habits and ensure that they stick for the long haul, you need to start off small and build on your momentum.
For me, it started with an electronic food diary and 10,000 steps per day. Then gradually, it increased to 15,000 steps a day and four sessions of high-impact classes at the gym per week.
Commit to it For 30 Days
It takes just between three and four weeks to make a new habit become automatic. If you can get through the initial conditioning phase, which lasts around 21 days, you will find it much easier to sustain your new habit. The word ‘conditioning’ isn’t by chance. You have to recondition your mind and your body; they will fight against you along the way, but nothing is beyond your subjection if you really want it to be. A month is a good chunk of time to commit to change since it fits in your calendar easily.
Make it Daily
If you want to make a new habit stick, it is critical that you are consistent with your actions. If you’re going to start exercising, for example, you have to go to the gym every day for the first month or do some form of exercise every day – like the 10,000 steps I took. Only making it to the gym a couple of times a week will make it much harder to form the habit.
Remind Yourself Why You’re Doing It
After committing yourself to your new habit for two weeks, it can be hard to remember what you’re working towards. Believe me, when you start getting irritated by having to stick to a new routine like this, you will definitely need a reminder about why you started.
Place reminders to work on your habit each day around your house, or you might end up missing a few days…accidentally on purpose! Sometimes, missing one instance of carrying out your new habit, it can be easy to get out of synch and start making excuses. Like, if you missed a gym session, but it didn’t reflect poorly in your weigh-in that week, you could start to think that you can happily miss sessions at the gym and get back into bad habits. So, it’s important to remind yourself of what you are trying to achieve so you can stay on target.
Remove the Temptation to Cheat
In the first 30 days, you need to restructure your environment so that you don’t have any temptations. If you are trying to eat better, remove all the junk food from your house. If you’re trying to quit smoking, throw out your cigarettes so you won’t have to struggle with your willpower later.
Getting your new habits to stick can be quite a challenge at first – it’s all part of conditioning. Follow these tips and tricks for getting your new life and career-changing habits for 2019 to stick so you can change your life for the better. And share your tips, too!
If you want to ramp things up a bit and help make you accountable to your audience of family, friends, and colleagues, have a look at Two Simple Steps To Help You Achieve Your Goals This Year.