Brian White | You Should Be Doing It
Have you ever seen someone who looks really healthy and is in great shape and thought, “He just has willpower and self-motivation that I will never have, it’s just not in me.”?
I am sure many of you have felt like this at some point. But, there is no such person on this planet that possesses an endless supply of motivation. Motivation runs out quickly and often. Relying on motivation is a terrible way to make a lasting change in your life, because it isn’t always going to be there for you. If you are hoping to actually stick to a healthier lifestyle, then you can’t rely on getting inspired at the right time and hoping your willpower will carry you through.
The solution to this problem is to design your behavior by altering the environment around you. That way, you don’t even need to think about making good decisions, they’ll just happen for you.
You have a much better chance to design your behavior to stay out of tempting situations than you do relying on willpower if those chocolates are only an arm’s length away.
Many of us have muttered the words, “I just don’t have the willpower,” if you fail at a diet. Or if you can’t seem to finish a major project, you might say, “I am a great starter, an idea guy, I just can’t seem to be a finisher.”
These statements imply that our habits and actions are determined by some set of characteristics that we are born with.
But that is wrong.
It isn’t just your personal characteristics that drive your successes or failures, but your habits have a ton to do with your environment and designing your behaviors around it.
So with New Year’s right around the corner, let’s talk about the environment around you and how to design your behavior for health success in 2015.
The first step required to create a new habit is to simplify the behavior. Make it so tiny that it is ridiculous. For example, floss one tooth, do five pushups, or go to bed 15 minutes earlier.
The second step is to find a spot in your daily routine where the new behavior seamlessly fits. Put it after an act that is already an established habit for you, like brushing your teeth or sitting down for dinner. This is key when it comes to a new habit — make sure you know what it comes after.
The third step is to establish the cycle. Focus on doing the ridiculously tiny behavior as part of your routine — every day — on cycle. At first, you’ll need reminders, but soon it will become automatic. Focus short term, like 21 straight days without missing a day and you should be home free!
The cool part about this ridiculously tiny habit is that it will naturally expand to a bigger behavior. Just keep the tiny habit going and eventually without much effort, you’ll be doing the full behavior. Believe in baby steps.
So as you ponder how you are going to crush 2015 with your new, healthy habits, remember these three steps: Make it tiny. Find a spot. Train the cycle.
—Brian White owns Brian White Fitness (BWF), located in Hillcrest. He runs boot camps in Balboa Park and trains clients at Diverge Gym. Read his blog at youshouldbedoingit.com, or take his seven-day video challenge to get back into healthy habits. Contact Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org.