Creating New Habits

Hopefully your #newyearnewyou is off to a great start and you absolutely crushed your first month of new goals.  However, if you’re struggling to maintain consistency, this article is for you!

We are all too familiar with the trials and errors of failed New Year’s resolutions.  Maybe the 300 calorie per day diet of juice “detoxes” left you feeling closer to death instead of feeling like the vibrant 20-something year old you expected it to transform you to.  Or perhaps you found yourself curled into a ball on the floor in a puddle of tears and sweat after your new HIIT workouts as opposed to rising triumphantly in your Herculean glory, hair blowing in the wind.  It’s very common to hear of grand goals as people set resolutions for the new year and attempt to overhaul lifestyles and habits that have been years in the making.  “Shoot for the moon,” they say.  “Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”  There’s also an old saying about how long it took to build Rome.  Burnout and fatigue are unfortunately common results of these valiant efforts.  It’s also quite natural to self-sabotage when we experience feelings of guilt and shame, something commonly referred to as the “what the hell effect.”  You may know this better as that time you were on a diet and ate a single cookie and then proceeded to polish off the entire plate of cookies. Your diet was suddenly “ruined” by that one moment of weakness.

While it may seem very noble to set a huge goal to revamp your life, it often isn’t very plausible.  A better alternative for most is to focus on creating one new habit at a time.  Author Stephen Covey said this best as “the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”  Your first new habit should be small, and it should be easily attainable.  I know what you’re thinking.  “EASY!?  Where’s the sense of achievement in doing something easy?  How can I be proud of that?”  The trick is in the psychology of the matter.  For something to become a habit, it must be performed regularly.  For most new habits, “regularly” ultimately means daily if you want them to stick.  Setting a goal for a new habit that is too large or cumbersome to achieve simply sets you up for failure.  If your current eating habits are absolute garbage, it might be better for you to start by focusing on improving only one meal every day or simply adding a vegetable to each meal rather than convincing yourself you will completely overhaul your entire diet on day one.  Such sudden and dramatic changes are nearly impossible to sustain indefinitely.  If your goal is to move more, check out the wide selection of workouts available on the Bodypeace app.  Even performing a quick 10 to 20-minute workout or stretch session each day is a great way to create a habit that is more likely to stick.  And remember, missing one day does not make you a failure!  Get back on track as quickly as possible (without punishments such as starving yourself for the day or forcing a grueling two-hour workout) and bask in the joy and excitement of all the little wins you achieve throughout the week.

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