Almost everyone I know is plagued by at least a few "bad habits". Bad habits usually turn out to be impulsive choices and destructive decisions. Maybe you like to snack on junk food instead of choosing to eat real food, or you continually come up with excuses why spending a mere 30min extra time at work that would instead allow you to get active with your friends/family is a better decision, or you like to stay up late watching tv instead of going to bed early to get quality sleep. Whatever your bad habit is, isn't as important as what you do about it and that's wherein the problem lies.....most of us just can't seem to do anything about it that works and sticks. There's the obvious causes, lack of motivation, lack of energy, lack of accountability, and so on and so on, the list of obstacles and your sheer ability to drum up ever more excuses will always impress you, console you, and then quietly sabotage you. The problem is in the approach, the way in which you look at the problem from the start. Today I'm going to use the example of a lack of physical activity. Normally if you've come to the conclusion that you "need" to get more physically active, you will first default to the most socially dominant verb used to define activity, today that seems to be exercise.....from there you will default to the most socially dominant form of exercise, today that seems to be the gym.....and finally from there you will look for the most effective form of gym exercise (because we all want the "best" and no one cares about what's most appropriate), which today will probably lead your search towards taking something like a HIIT class (high intensity interval training class where you'll burn the most calories and "therefore" reap the most benefit). None of this is your fault, all of this processing happens in your head almost instantly based on thousands of inputs you receive daily from your surroundings (all forms of media influence and then the people around you regurgitating that same media influence). The good news is, you can do something about it!
1. The first step to any decision that doesn't need to be instantaneous is Pause, with a capital P. Yes, I said pause...take a pause so that you don't allow your automatic response system to take over and to give you answers based on what you've absorbed from your surroundings instead of from a minute of your own, calm, thoughtful insights. In today's rush rush world, this kind of thinking is almost non-existent.
2. The second step after you've paused and disregarded what your first inclination was (exercise...gym...what ever the best gym exercise is that I've come or come into contact with) will be to work backwards. So instead of what, where, how, we're going to start at how.
3. The third step starts at how. By pausing, disregarding automatic inclinations, and reflecting on how, then where, and then what (which is a given and usually a rephrasing of the problem. ex. I need to get active = what will I do to get active) you will think of ways that you can address the how with what's most innate. The key here is to take 3 of those innate answers and start with your favourite one. The other 2 answers are backups for inevitable days when obstacles or excuses prevent you from employing your first option. Through this method of rotating options, you will also learn which one works best for you. In this example, your answers might look like this:
How will I get active = WALKING to a new location ( the where) around my house/place of work every day, OR = DOING as many pushups, situps, and burpees as I can do in 15minutes at home (the where) every morning before work, OR = going to shoot a BASKETBALL at a different local court (the where) with my kids/friends/partner/solo, 2 times a week after work and once on the weekend.
If you choose to walk every day but one day it's raining and "you just can't take an umbrella and walk in the rain, god forbid", then you can choose one of your other 2 options....maybe just do some pushups and situps for 15min at home, or go to an indoor basketball court you've never been to.
4. Once you're getting active regularly and for a period of time that you're impressed with, then and only then should you start considering moving on to other interests to fulfill the same purpose. Usually these other interests are less innate and more complex/demanding and therefore have a greater likelihood of failure or drop-off. If you do drop-off, simply pause, and start again!
That's it, that's all!
Until next time - BE BETTER!