Building A Habit

Happy Fall! (it’s only about 90 degrees out at the time of this writing). In the spirit of our AAFit Fall Challenge, this edition is all about habit forming, and breaking cycles (both bad AND good). Summer is about over, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to just bail on fitness again until the start of the new year. This mentality is especially prevalent here in Michigan, where the days get shorter, colder, and darker as we move into the winter months. If you are on a roll, it’s important you stay on that roll, and not lose momentum simply because swimsuit season is ending. Conversely, if you are just starting off, it’s best to start now and not get caught up in the totally manufactured “Jan 1st resolution” hype. Chances are that come winter it will be MUCH harder to start a lasting program if you don’t get on that wagon now (that’s a big reason why so many people that start a Jan resolution have given up by March).

Ok, so start now (or don’t stop). We’ve got that part taken care of. How to start? Personally, I feel it takes me about 3 solid weeks before I am fully comfortable with a new routine or habit, but this is different for everyone (there is no magic 21-day habit forming myth), as it can take anywhere from 2 months to 8 months to craft a new behavior routine. The key here is to set your expectations accordingly, and know that the only way to get to day 300 is to start with day 1. If you are like me, you believe in an all-or-nothing philosophy, where you have to eat perfect and work out perfect every day to get results. Moral: don’t be be like me. Building habits isn’t an all or nothing process so don’t freak out if you miss a workout, or splurge on a pizza every now and then. Just make sure you don’t slide down the slippery slope and you’ll be just fine.

Finally, the 3 stages (as I see them), of the habit building process:

Stage 1: The Start Up Euphoria. This stage is marked by feelings of joy as you pat yourself on the back for beginning the program. You are getting up at 5:45 am and doing workouts you never thought you were capable of. Everything seems great and you will be in shape in no time flat!

Stage 2: The Reality Sets In…Gosh this is hard…I want ice cream…I’m sick of eating tuna packets and protein shakes…I’m sore all the time, and waking up super early or staying late after work to workout is a drag….phase. FYI: No one likes this phase. Fight through it.

Stage 3: In the Zone. The promised land. This is where we want to be where all of this becomes second nature, and you really can’t imagine doing it any differently. It’s also the phase where you will start to see solid results, which should bring you back to that euphoria stage and motivate you all over again. It’s also where cheat meals and the occasional splurge won’t really phase you, because you’ll be too in-the-zone for those things to become habit again. It’s the built-in rewards zone!

So that’s it. Know what you are getting into, set your expectations, and get after the results you want. No time like the present. Don’t be a Jan 1 resolutioner, be a September one!

#aafitstudio#habits#fitness#grandrapids#personal training

"WE ARE WHAT WE REPEATEDLY DO. EXCELLENCE, THEN, IS NOT AN ACT BUT A HABIT" - Aristotle