Written by: Coach James & Dr. Jordan“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” - AristotleHuman beings are creatures of habit. We often repeat the same activities over and over. In fact, depending on the research you look at, anywhere from 60% to over 90% of people’s actions are subconscious and habitual. This repetition can work for us -- or against us. It's important to stop and ask yourself, “is this habit serving me, or is it sabotaging my progress?” Here are some tips to help you create better habits for yourself.
- Wake up at the same time every day.
Yes, that includes weekends. Your body doesn’t know, or care for that matter, that it’s Saturday and you stayed out too late the night before. Research shows that people who wake up at the same time each morning report being more satisfied with many aspects of their lives, as compared to people who are looser about the time at which they get up each morning. People who adhere to a strict wake up time report being 13% more satisfied with their personal lives, 45% more satisfied with their financial situation, and 42% more satisfied with their work-life balance. These results show that staying in a routine helps us feel more comfortable and reliable. In turn, we are more productive and satisfied with our days. So set that alarm a little earlier this Saturday and come join us at the gym for the partner WOD!
- Add first, subtract later.
When we decide we want to change a behavior, we often resort to cutting things out. This can often lead to us feeling restricted, which in turn makes that behavior even more enticing. Research shows that when it comes to changing behavior (diet, work habits, exercise habits), people are more successful in reaching their goals when they focus on adding something to their routine (e.g. eating more vegetables, creating a to-do list, making it into the gym at a certain time), rather than when they try to eliminate the “bad” behavior (e.g. eating less sugar, not checking social media during work hours, avoiding long bouts of sitting). Whatever your goal may be, rather than focusing on eliminating “bad” behaviors, try identifying and implementing positive actions that will move you closer to your goals.
- Use a calendar or a planner to help develop structure.
Let’s face it -- we have a lot on our plates. With a constant barrage of input from innumerable sources, it’s nearly impossible to keep track of all the things we need to stay organized. One of the most effective ways to keep our priorities organized is to write them down. While many of us keep “mental to-do lists” and have our goals in the back of our minds, research shows this mental check-list is not reliable in helping us to stay on task. People who write down their tasks and goals are 1.4 times more likely to successfully accomplish them, as compared to people who simply keep them in the back of their minds. There is a lot of really cool neuroscience behind why this is – but let’s not make it complicated. Just take 60 seconds at the end of each day to write down your goals for the next day (and the next week, or month, if you’re feeling ambitious) and watch how that affects your productivity and progress.
- Hold yourself accountable. Or have someone else do it.
To be accountable, all you need is a goal and willingness to let others help you achieve it. This means that after you write down your goal (see point #3 above), you have to tell someone else about it. A study performed by The American Society of Training and Development showed that people who tell others about their goals have a 65% chance of achieving it. Even better, people who made a specific accountability appointment with someone (e.g. meeting with your pal to discuss your progress toward your goal) increased the participant’s chance of success by up to 95%. What is it that you are working toward? Once you have your goal defined and written down, share it with someone you trust (your spouse, a reliable friend, a buddy at the gym) and make an appointment to discuss your progress towards that goal. Better yet, write it on our goals board in the gym so the CFIS Tribe can help you along the way!
- Be graceful with yourself.
For many of us, being graceful with ourselves is a lost art. We spend so much of our time working alongside other people (colleagues, kids, spouses), that we use up all of our patience on others and don’t save any for ourselves. You are the person with which you spend the most time. Think about the way you speak to yourself. Would you speak to your best friend the same way? Try cutting yourself some slack and taking a few pauses throughout the day to check in with yourself to see how you are feeling. You wouldn’t let your phone run out of charge, so take the time to recharge yourself. Remember, you need you, too. As creatures of habit, less create some good ones. Start by taking these five steps and watch how these small changes in habit help move you to where you want to be. As always, your coaches are here for you in any way you might need to help you along the path toward reaching your goals. Now go out there and achieve them!