The ability to develop a new habit takes one thing and one thing only. Repetition. The more times you practice this new habit, the easier it is ingrained into your daily routine. Let’s be clear this includes all good and bad habits alike. Here are a few examples of habits you have most likely developed during your lifetime:
- Brushing your teeth
- Taking a shower
- Buckling your seatbelt
- Cup of coffee before you start your day
- Eating after 8 pm while you sit and watch TV
In starting an exercise program, it is essential that it becomes a part of your daily routine, especially if you are sedentary to begin with. To do this, you need to plan it into your day by putting it on your daily calendar, in your phone, or on your computer. Treat it like an important appointment or meeting and not let anything take its place. It will be hard and you may find that your old habits will want to rise to the surface and take over.
It is said that a new habit takes between 3-4 weeks of consistency to become a habit. Be careful, this is where a lot of people fall off the wagon quickly and give up. But you can do it. If you are reading this blog, you are most likely exercising regularly. However you can easily use the concepts here and apply them to any habit.
One big issue in developing a new habit is your attitude. If starting an exercise program is something you can’t stand to think about, but you know you need to start one, your attitude can go a long way.
Trying something new or different for the first time can cause a lot of stress and self-doubt. Negative self-talk is very common with the following examples:
- “I don’t know how to do weight training…”
- I don’t know where to begin…”
- “I don’t have the time to exercise”
These are all excuses. You have already defeated your-self before you even got started. Change your attitude! Seek out a Certified Personal Trainer to help design a program for you. Time should not be an excuse. Research shows that you can make significant gains in strength and loss in body fat by performing a well-designed program for 3 times per week for 30 minutes! You mean to tell me that you can’t find a 90 minutes out of the 10, 080 minutes in a week to exercise? Come on! Change your attitude!
This is probably one of my favorite quotes on attitude:
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”
By Charles R. Swindoll
Written by Dave Radin, CSCS, USAC-L1