As summer approaches, it isn't uncommon to hear frustrations from people who have given up on their unrealistic New Year goals (we covered this topic in our podcast episode building long-lasting habits) or stories of others just plain stuck in a rut.
Let's realistically look at the topic: if you have never set foot in a gym or prepared lunch in your home - you will not convert into a fitness nut overnight, or even over a couple of months. We are swimming into a full-blown drastic lifestyle change waters, and it is not an easy task. Saying this, however, do not get discouraged! It is possible and can even feel easy if you use the correct technique!
We read "Atomic Habits" by James Clear in the previous She Alpha book club edition. Atomic - in this instance, refers to tiny changes. James Clear promotes a positive attitude towards reaching your goals, yet suggests not to get ahead of yourself before time. Minor changes can go a long way when you start implementing them little by little. Ever hear the saying "Rome was not built in a day"? Well, let's say our lifestyle is no different - brick by brick we will get closer to our goals.
There are plenty of tips and tricks that can help you build solid and long-lasting habits, but first, let's clarify why habits are so important? During the day, an adult can make up to 35,000 decisions. We make 226.7 decisions each day on just food alone, according to researchers at Cornell University. That is a lot of brainpower. What happens if we automate some of our actions, though? We have more brain space to concentrate on things that really matter. We have to use less willpower too. By making our day as automated as possible, we can become increasingly more efficient by reaching our goal and then moving on to the next one, instead of battling sheer resistance and motivation.
Say your goal is to eat healthily. Well, what do healthy people do? An example would be drinking more water, eating more fruits and veggies, and reducing sugar and greasy food intake. To be clear, we are not saying this is impossible, but to implement this, the author suggests you start little by little and have an obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying system. Perhaps, start by drinking water three times a day instead of only once every other day. Now make that a system! If you work in an office or from home, maybe every time you get up to use the restroom, that is also an opportunity to remember to have a glass of water. Once that becomes a habit, then you begin intaking more fruits and veggies with your daily meals. You get the point! We build habits one by one and not all at once; this allows us to create healthy, long-lasting habits.
"Make your bad habits difficult to continue and good habits easy to achieve" - is probably one of the best pieces of advice I have heard in a long time. After all, we create the habits in our brains, and therefore if we understand how they work, we can use this information to "train" ourselves in an effortless manner.
Let us know what habits you are working on! We are in this together!
Solveiga is also known as "La Picaflor" is a circus artist specializing in Aerial Acrobatics, a dancer, a coach, writer, content creator. She is a self-confessed workaholic and believes everybody has a chance to reach their goals if they are ready to work for it enough. She dedicates her free time to writing and content creation and seeks to help other women to believe in themselves to take the first steps towards achieving their goals.