The Power of a Habit

The Power of a Habit

As Aristotle put it best, ”We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit.” When it comes to life in general, habits make life either super easy or super hard. Whether its a good habit like waking up early to exercise or bad habit like eating dessert each night before bed. Habits are the foundation of our thoughtless actions that allow us to go on autopilot. Our bodies and minds developed this skill called habit forming to make it so we can continue to evolve without needing to think about every little detail. When we create a new positive habit we absolutely love it. However, when we have a bad habit we stress because we know it will take work to overcome that habit. Today I want to walk you through the idea or fixing the habit loop that I learned for the book The Power of Habit. My goal is to help you understand how to change your negative habits over time into positive ones and allow you to take control of the controllables. 

 

The only way you’ll form long-lasting habits is by applying the Power of Less: focus on one habit at a time, one month at a time, so that you’ll be able to focus all your energy on creating that one habit.

  1. Select one habit…only one habit per month. You can choose any habit – whatever you think will have the biggest impact on your life.
  2. Write down your plan. You will need to specifically state what your goal will be each day, when you’ll do it, what your “trigger” will be, who you will report to…
  3. Post your goal publicly. Tell as many people as possible that you are trying to form your new habit. Coworkers,family, friends, your GCP coaches or the GCP Family are all great ways to get your goals out to others.
  4. Report on your progress daily. Whether it be writing it in a journal, posting it in something like MyCoach or an Facebook, just recording it daily will keep you focused on the task at hand.

Now, according to Babauta, here are “the rules”:

“There are only a few rules you need to follow to make this challenge a success. If you follow these rules, it would be hard for you not to form a new habit by the end of the 30 days.

  • Do only one habit at a time. Do not break this rule, because I assure you that if you do multiple habits at once, you will be much less likely to succeed. Trust me – I’ve tried both ways many times, and in my experience there is 100% failure for forming multiple habits at once, and a 50-80% success if you do just one habit at a time – depending on whether you follow the rest of these rules.
  • Choose an easy goal. Don’t decide to do something really hard, at least for now. Later, when you’re good at habit changes, you can choose something harder. But for now, do something you know you can do every day. In fact, choose something easier than you think you can do every day. If you think you can eat 5 servings of vegetables, lets start with 2 first and then as you get consistent with that add 1 more serving until you are finally up to 5. 
  • Choose something measurable. You should be able to say, definitively, whether you were successful or not today. If you choose exercise, set a number of minutes or something similar (30 minutes of exercise daily, for example). Whatever your goal, have a measurement.
  • Be consistent. You want to do your habit change at the same time every day, if possible. If you’re going to exercise, do it at 5:30 a.m. (or 5:30 p.m.) every day, for example. This makes it more likely to become a habit.
  • Report daily. You could check in every 2 or 3 days, but you’ll be more likely to succeed if you report daily. This has been proven over and over again in the Challenges.
  • Keep a positive attitude! Expect setbacks now and then, but just note them and move on. No embarrassment in this challenge.”

As in The Power of Less, the key is to shoot for

at a time.  For example, you might start by:

  • Eating breakfast every day
  • Increasing your fruit and veggie intake to 5 servings per day
  • Taking 1 gram of fish oil per day
  • Eating lean protein with each meal and snack
  • Making smart carb choices at each meal

You get the idea.

 

Based on your own personal limiting factors, there are likely dozens of simple habits you can put to work immediately.  The key, however, is to work ONLY ONE habit at a time.

Research has shown that when people try to change a single behavior at a time, the likelihood that they’ll retain that habit for a year or more is better than 80 percent. When they try to tackle two behaviors at once, their chances of success are less than 35 percent.  When they try for three behaviors or more, their success rate plummets to less than 5 percent.

 

Is it any surprise, then, that when people try to massively overhaul their lifestyle in short order, the changes simply don’t stick?  Of course not.  But, let’s be honest.  Most of us aren’t known for being patient.  And most people who come to us want to be in shape, like, yesterday. But it's that consistency of one step at a time over a long period of time. This is the Process of Fat Loss. It's doing the little things every day that you didn't do before.

 

ACTION PLAN

1) Figure out what your SMARTER goal is?

2) Find you limiting factor or biggest struggle with a habit to achieve that goal?

3) Break it down to the smallest most simplest thing you can and work on that every day

4) Do the WORK

 



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