www.Hypersmash.com Tips for creating good habits

dinsdag 19 februari 2013

Tips for creating good habits

When I was trying to recover from Lyme disease I knew that some lifestyle changes, such as better nutrition and more regular exercise, would maximise my chances of recovering. Even though I realised this it was hard, initially, to make these changes a part of my life. At least in terms of good nutrition and exercise I was able to develop positive habits. Once that happened I no longer had to rely upon willpower to eat properly and exercise. Working out and eating well turned into a habit, if I didn't do them it didn't feel right (just like it doesn't feel right if you don't brush your teeth before you go to bed).

Here are some tips that worked for me.

1 - Learn what you need to change and why

Make sure you understand exactly what the benefits are of changing. And what the potential negative consequences are of maintaining your current habit. For example, regarding nutrition figure out exactly what you should be eating to maximise your recovery chances.

In the beginning there will be some periods when you want to revert back to your old habits. In those times I found it powerful to recall the reasons why I was trying to change.

2 - Fit it into your life

I knew I needed to exercise. But with two young kids making time to go running or go to the gym was difficult and stressful. But I found I could bike to work in pretty much the same time as what it took door-to-door with my normal commute on the train. This meant I could get in two hours of quality exerise each work day without any additional impact on time with my family.

For me this was key to being able to develop exercise into a habit.

3 - Get organised, get prepared

I find it hard to be organised. My room and desk are testament to this. But being disorganised was a killer to establishing good nutrition and exercise as habits. What I do now is make all my lunches and snacks for the coming week at one go in the weekend and then freeze them. This takes less than an hour and afterwards I have my lunch and snack food for the whole week sorted.

When I comes to exercise I make sure I get the gear I need for biking to work (clothes, wallet, work access card, etc) packed the night before. I make a green smoothie for breakfast and put it in the fridge. Based on the weather forecast I work out what cycling gear to use and lay it out the night before. Because of these preps, when I get out of bed at 05:30 in the morning it doesn't take any mental energy to get myself dressed, have breakfast and out on the road.

4 - Use willpower to get through the first few days Before I made change to my diet I used to have a fair bit of sugar, fat and processed food in my diet. My diet wasn't awful but definitely I had the more than occasional chocolate bar to fight off the mid-afternoon dip and used to 'help' my kids finish their ice creams, etc. Giving up sugar was hard. But it was only hard for the first few days. It took a lot of willpower to get through those first few days but after that the cravings wore off. Now I don't crave sugary foods anymore.

5 - Focus on one thing at a time

It's easy to get swept away in a 'New years resolution' type fever and find 10 or 20 things you want to change. In my opinion (and experience with my own resolutions!) that's just setting yourself up for failure. What works best for me is to focus on just one thing. One change. Once you embed that and it becomes a habit then focus on something else. But not two things at one time and definitely not 5 or 10.

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