The Habits That Make You

I’ve been thinking a lot about habits lately. Everyone has them and some of them are good and some of them are bad. Some of them start out okay and then become bad habits. Like my daughter sucking her thumb. What we thought was just a fine way for her to soothe herself as a baby has become a VERY hard habit for her to break even as an 8 year old now.  Being around  kids a lot it’s easy to  recognize a pattern forming and if it’s something the child shouldn’t be doing you can try to stop the behavior before it becomes a habit. Adults are the same way….it’s just sometimes we’re so caught up in everything else that we don’t realize what has become a “habit”.  When looking at my own life and habits I know I really like routine and can create habits pretty easily.   I am in the habit of getting up early in the morning to get my workout in. I’ve always been a morning person but after 4 years of teaching/attending the 5:45am boot camp it’s become more of a habit.  And every winter I develop a habit of going downstairs and putting hot water on the stove so that I have hot tea to sip on while I drive to boot camp each morning. It just feels cozy to me and I associate the cold mornings with a cup of tea.  I’m also  in the habit of wearing certain clothes, eating pretty much the same breakfast and lunch each day, and going to bed at the same time most nights.
Most of those things are my good habits.
However, I’m just as guilty as the next person of falling into bad habits from time to time.
I go in phases where I include more sweets into my diet than I should.  A couple weeks go by and I start to notice that every time I’m done with a meal I look to have some sort of “treat”.
Or, this past summer I got more in the habit of  having a glass of wine or drink with dinner. And then it started happening a few nights a week and then it quickly became a “habit” of just what I wanted to go along with preparing dinner or unwinding from the day.
 I encourage you to take a moment to think about some of your habits….Do you eat the same thing for lunch, go through the same exercise routine, and fall into bed at the same time each night?

Or maybe you’ve made a habit out of eating whatever looks good, avoiding the gym, and staying up as late as possible.

It’s pretty clear that the habits you adopt will shape who you are.

When it comes to your body, the two habits that define your physique are your eating and exercise habits. I know that for me, when I developed some bad habits of including daily alcohol or sugar into my “routine” I didn’t look OR feel the way I wanted. It was important to break the bad habits I mentioned above and my mind and body respond very positively.

If you aren’t currently happy with your body- you need to take a hard look at your habits and make adjustments.

Here are a couple tips:1) Decide on the ONE habit that you would like to develop. It’s tempting to pick up 3 or 4 healthy habits, but choosing just one new habit is realistic and doable.

Here are some healthy habit ideas:

  • Do not eat after 7pm each night.
  • Drink only water (it’s truly all your body needs!)
  • Bring your lunch to work instead of eating fast food.
  • Exercise 4 times a week after work for 45 minutes each time.
  • Only eat fruits and veggies as your afternoon snack.
  • Get 7-8 hours of sleep per night- no exceptions.

It helps to write your new habit down on paper. Also include your 3 main motivators for developing this new habit, the obstacles you’ll face, and your strategies for overcoming these obstacles.

Here’s an example:

  • My new habit is to go to boot camp 3 times each week.
  • My 3 main motivators are 1) to feel confident in my bathing suit this summer, 2) to have more energy, and 3) to fit into my skinny jeans.
  • The obstacles I will face are 1) not having the energy to go to my session after work, 2) not having enough money to pay for sessions, and 3) not having my spouse’s support.
  • I will overcome these obstacles by 1) doing my workouts before work instead of after work, so I have more energy, 2) cutting down on frivolous spending to ensure that I can afford it, and 3) asking my spouse to join me so we can get in shape together.

Make sure you are committing fully to your new habit, and using others to help hold you accountable. This is a huge part of our Mastermind group at Altman Fitness and our members make huge strides each week by using the tools they learn and the group support.  The great news is that once you make that commitment and break that habit or swap it out for something healthy each day will get easier.  Even if you have a little slip up from time to time it’s okay! Give yourself a break.  It’s not like you can’t EVER have that drink with dinner or the piece of chocolate after lunch- it’s just you don’t want it to happen every single day.  Slip ups are normal- just get back on track immediately after and remind yourself why it’s worth it to live this way.

You can do anything you want with the right mental attitude!


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