How to make your Fitness Goals Stick For A Lifetime

 

How do we make habits stick?

The truth is that our reality is created by our habits and anyone with a goal of permanent change in their bodies or level of fitness should really get to understand how to make it last. Healthy habits get results, bad habits get in the way of them.

So what has been shown by psychology and science to give us the best chance of success in deciding on a habit and making it stick? Well there have been many studies done and many smart insights on the topic.

What is a habit?

In simple terms, it is a behavior or a set of behaviors that you do automatically, without thinking and consciously intending. When you automatically put on your seat belt once you get in your car, that’s a habit. When you find yourself biting your fingernails, that’s a habit. When you clap your hands after a performance, that’s a habit. Regular Exercise or eating well for some is almost second nature and would require some mental effort to not be this way. Finding out to be like this should be the end goal.

How long does it take to form a habit?

There is a common belief that it takes 21 days to form a habit. What I mean by this is that whatever that habit is, is something that becomes as automatic as brushing your teeth. This has been proven false. In fact, the origins of where it came from is basing it off the fact that amputees take an average of 21 days to adjust to losing their limb. This study was done in the 1950’s by Author Dr, Maxwell Maltz. And that is supposed to tell us how long we stick it out until exercise and good nutrition become a habit????

In fact it has to do with how difficult the habit is and can range from 18 to 254 days. An example that is used is that getting in the habit of having a glass of water in the morning would be closer to the 18 days and a very difficult habit would take closer to the 254 days.

source: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ejsp.674/abstract

But I’m sure you care most about:

“How long does it take to adopt a “Fitness Lifestyle” a lifestyle in which you exercise properly/regularly and eat nutritious and healthy enough to achieve your goal and stay like that for the rest of your life?

THE END GAME HERE!

It is more complex than that. The reason is that living a lifestyle that will give you health is a series of various new habits done together. For example, here are just some of the many habits that those who are health conscious participate in: Eat breakfast, exercise three times or more per week, do resistance training, vary routine, never keep on the same weight, eat every 3 hours, 100 grams plus protein per day, grocery shopping changes, alcohol consumption changes and so forth…

How do we approach this?

Everyone is different. There are many strategies to do this. However, I believe the best way to form habits in most cases is “ONE STEP AT A TIME”. You cannot expect to come out 3 weeks completely changing and undoing years of bad habits where working out and eating healthy is effortless. It can also be discouraging to start to see these newly attempted habits start to unravel and then you get discouraged and stop all together.

Change Habits At The Right Speed

The trick is to change at the right speed. Take it one step at a time. Choose 1 or 2 habits to change and work on that for a few weeks. Then choose another 1 or 2 important habits. Keep following. Eventually you will have developed many new valuable habits and adopt the end goal here of a “fitness lifestyle”.

So how long does it take?

Being realistic, there is no exact answer in my opinion it takes the average person somewhere along the lines to a little more than half to a full year if they are starting from scratch. This kind of falls in line with this study that was done. The education/safety/structure of how to do it has to be there along with the figuring out how to make it work. It has to outshine the years of doing things the bad ways. But in the end its worth it.

This is a good thing, because it takes pressure off you to relax and realize that you don’t have to put pressure on yourself to expect it to happen overnight if you want it as a permanent change. Its a journey that has many steps and if you go at the right pace and trust the process you will get there.

Now that we an idea of how to approach this, Part 2 will go into what to do to start and move this