Habituating 2017

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Hey friends! Long time no talk. I’m sitting here on a random day in January thinking about the goodness that’s going to be this year. Working in the health and fitness industry, it often feels like a rat race to make sure you’ve got new content, new products, new life changing evidence that is going to help your clients be happier, healthier and better than ever. The truth is, I don’t have anything crazy and new for you to start off the year better than ever, just a basic reminder.

S  l  o  w  and steady wins the race.

There’s a lot of research on resolutions and habit change. One of my favorites is from psychologist and researcher, B.J Fogg. He emphasizes that to create a real lifelong habit, the focus should be on training the brain to succeed at small adjustments, then gaining confidence from that success.

The first step focuses on being very specific with your outcome. For example, I’d like to lose 5% of my body weight, or I want to feel less stressed at work. Second, figure out those “easy-win” behaviors (I call them quickies) that put you on the path to that goal. The key here is to figure out what works for YOU, not your co-worker, or your best friend. Maybe you find short walks or chopping vegetables more meditative than actual meditation. Perhaps you’re not into green smoothies but you sure like eggs, apples, and green salads.

The next step is to find something you already do as a habit and pair it with your new habit. This is key! Maybe that’s setting out your gym clothes next to your work bag, or putting out an apple on the counter every time you start the coffeemaker in the morning. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to use your gym clothes or even eat the apple. Let’s not get crazy.

From there, it’s all about the little victories. One day you actually wear your gym clothes. Maybe you didn’t make it to the gym, but you wore the clothes. Sounds silly, but slowly, naturally, you’ll start walking in those clothes, and then adding in other more ambitious goals to your routine. Instead of identifying yourself as a failure for not remembering your clothes, you’re allowing yourself time to make the change. With every little effort, you’re succeeding and implementing positive behavior changes. You also get to celebrate! Tell yourself you’re doing a great job along the way. I do this with clients all the time by high-fiving them, and they think I’m crazy, but we’re celebrating little wins!

I’ve never been one to make big sweeping changes in my life starting January 1st, but instead, this has gotten me to think of habits I’d like to shift in my life.

My goals for new habits in 2017 include:

Waking up with my alarm and not hitting snooze twice…or three times.

Drinking more water at home. I’m great out and about with my bottle, but forget about water when I’m working from home.

Putting my phone away after 6pm. As a business owner, you feel like you need to be available 24/7 but you actually don’t. You need time for yourself (and Netflix) too.

Writing on the blog more! I did a lot of work-related stuff that kept me away from writing these past few months, but I’ve noticed that I miss just having a space to jot down my thoughts and rambles. Hope you like it!

Happy New Year to you! To hear more from Dr. Fogg, check out his Ted Talk from 2012:

What are some of the habits you’d like to adjust this year? Let me know!