“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.”– James Clear, Atomic Habits
10 years ago, I had no idea what macronutrients or food prepping were. I thought being healthy was doing cardio exercises and being “skinny”. Since then, I’ve learned how to squat, bench, deadlift, become a certified personal trainer, transformed my body, and competed in bodybuilding. But none of those are the most transformative skills I’ve learned.
The most important skill I’ve learned is how to create new habits.
If I had not developed good habits such as, getting good rest and recovery, food prepping, drinking water, stretching, thinking about food as fuel ( all of the buzz things you hear in the health space), then I would never have accomplished as much as I have.
But, I didn’t go from 0 to 60 overnight. I didn’t wake up one day and decide that I was going to start lifting weights 5 times a week, counting macros, and researching how to improve my gains. It started from small, simple actions that turned in to a habit. Once that habit was established, it became easy to build upon.
I think about habit building like building a brick wall. You have to lay each brick in sequence to create a strong foundation for the wall. You can’t just throw them all together and expect it to hold, right?
If you’ve ever read the book, The Slight Edge, the author, Jeff Olson explains this well, “Your small daily actions have a compound effect on your tomorrow. So, how do we create daily habits that will lead where we want tomorrow?”
The process of habit creation has been well-documented. You want to get stronger, look fit, have some definition and be able to climb a mountain, right? Well, to achieve those results, you have to start strength training. But, perhaps you always blow off the gym. How do you get past this roadblock? You want the result, but that doesn’t seem to be enough to motivate you.
Part of the trick is knowing yourself. What gets you out of bed and heading to the gym? Like in the picture below, what is the cue and reward that will work for you? For some, it’s having a food reward of some sort after the gym. I’ve had clients who have set mini-rewards based on mini-goals. When I lift a certain weight or when I am consistent in the gym for an extended amount of time, I’ll buy myself something special. Others use timelines such as a future vacation or wedding as the motivator.
Find what works for you. If you’re not sure, keep trying new things. At some point, you’ll find your reward. Then after a while you will no longer need the reward because the habit has created results that then replace that reward. And voila! You have yourself a habit.
Two more tips I have for habit building are:
- Focus on one thing at a time. If you make your goal very broad like losing weight or getting in shape, you will not have a specific enough goal to work for. Break down the goal into the different habits that are required to get there and then tackle each habit, one at a time.
- Practice detachment. This may seem out of left field, but hear me out! Yes, you care about your goals, but when we take things too personally and get emotional we have a greater chance of giving up. Say you mess up one day and don’t do a habit you’ve been working on. Instead of punishing yourself, look at what happened – Why did it happen? How can you improve? Take it as feedback that you use to readjust.
It’s time to go crush those goals and get off the sidelines!
To learn more about how we coach you through this process to create the fitness lifestyle you want, visit: https://www.pdxstrengthsociety.com/challenges/the-strength-society.
Amelia (& Alberto) @ Level Up Strength Society
For more information on our workout programs, coaching or to schedule a free Clarity Call with us, visit https://www.pdxstrengthsociety.com/.