Building Good Habits

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Habits…..good or bad, they can make or break you. I have to be honest with you guys, I’ve been falling off the wagon. I could blame it on the time change, school being back in session, maybe a traumatic childhood experience, but really it doesn’t matter. What matters is what I’m going to do about it. You see I’m a serial wagon tumbler. I’m not that person who is like “oh my God I just love tofu and burpees, its life!” (I hope you read that in a high-pitched squeaky voice) I love to sleep in and watch TV and eat several packs of my son’s fruit snacks trying convince my self it’s not really candy. But I also love the after work out energy rush, the feeling of having less joint pain, and being able to sit comfortably with out the underwire of my bra pressing uncomfortably into my stomach causing terrible heart burn. So I need to find my way back on to the wagon. Really, I haven’t fallen completely off, I’m still hanging on some. So I’ve put into action operation good habit.

I have some experience with building a good habit. Years ago I never made my bed, I mean you’re just going to get back into it right? But I found that having my bed made, gave me a mental sense of calm. So I began making my bed, everyday…. At first it was an effort, but I mentally made it my goal. I’m not sure how long it took for the habit to stick (research is conflicting on how long it take so to build a habit it ranges from 16-600 days) but that was years ago and now I make my bed everyday without even thinking about it, it feels effortless. So I learned 2 things…1. I am teachable….yea!, and 2. once a habit is learned it requires much less mental effort.

My new habit goal is to return to my morning workouts. I had been doing this over the summer, but with school I have to get up MUCH earlier to achieve this, like 530am. Yuck. But I’m happy to say that about 2 weeks ago I began to set my alarm for 545am and I would get up and put in a 20 min workout. (after a cup of coffee and trip to the bathroom of course) Now, it wasn’t the best 20 min workout. Normally I like a HIIT 20 min workout because its such an efficient use of time but the first few weeks my body was not feeling anything high intensity. I am pleased to say that TODAY I  got up at 530am, and did a killer HIIT workout. Yea! The habit is taking form. But it’s still fragile and I must persevere in continuing it.

My advice for starting a new habit, or new healthy life style. Pick one thing. Pick one habit you want to start and stick with it. If you take on too much you may become overwhelmed and just fall right off that wagon. Also in the beginning, it doesn’t have to be perfect. The first 2 weeks of my habit building I was just concentrating on hauling my butt out of bed at 545 am, the killer workout came later. And on days you may not be able to complete that task, try to do a piece of it. My mother calls this a token. So lets say I forget to set my alarm (umm, like yesterday) and I wake up too late to work out, I did a 5 min yoga flow instead, it’s a token. It always makes me feel empowered to accomplish a goal, now onto the next habit…..cleaning up my diet. Again. That…is another whole issue!

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