Our days are made of up a bunch of tiny habits. From brushing your teeth when you wake up to putting on the coffee to going to work and making dinner at night, even the most mundane things (and even those that are necessary) become a habit as part of our daily routines.
Unfortunately, this current COVID-19 pandemic has torn apart aspects of our daily routines. Without structure and proper planning, this disruption allows bad habits to form. This includes not fitting in exercise and instead only running Netflix marathons, and eating takeout with contactless delivery.
But it is possible to focus on a fitness goal right now, making it your new healthy habit.
How To Start A New Habit
Experts believe that when you start a new habit, dedicate 21 days to that goal. At the end of the 21 days, it should start to become a habit and then you can continue to chase with success for another 90 days.
Define Your Goal
You need to first clearly define your fitness goal. Then you need to break it down to be SMART. This means a goal that is specific, measurable, realistic, and time-bound.
For example, your fitness goal to tone your arms needs to better defined. Instead, think “I want to increase my arm strength by being able to lift X lbs. over the course of six weeks.”
Many start a fitness routine looking to lose weight. This goal is too general. Instead, think “I want to lose 5 lbs by exercising four times a week for the next month.”
See how I put a realistic weight loss goal? You might want to lose 50 lbs. altogether, but that isn’t realistic in a short time frame.
Link A Habit To The Goal
Once you have your fitness goal clearly defined, it’s time to start forming healthy habits to help you work towards reaching that goal. There can be ten things you can do to help you lose weight. This includes drinking a glass of water when you wake up, strength training twice a week, eating a healthy breakfast, avoiding takeout, stop snacking at night, etc.
Start by focusing on one new healthy habit at a time. For example, if your goal is to run a 5k start by making time in your day to workout. You might start by making it a habit to go for a walk every night after work. You can then incorporate the run/walk method until you are able to run a mile without stopping.
Those looking to lose weight can make their healthy habit of drinking more water. Every time you are thirsty, reach for water instead of soda or juice. Another habit is to make a healthy smoothie to start the day instead of a bagel with cream cheese. Make it a habit to include a vegetable with every meal like mushrooms and spinach in your omelet, carrots and hummus for a snack, and green beans with dinner.
These small habits are better and will be more effective than cutting out a major food group like carbs that will only leave your body giving into cravings.
Help Yourself Follow Through
It’s easy to say you’re going for a run later or you are going to drink more water, but sometimes it’s all talk and little action. What you need to do to reach that fitness or health goal is to make it easy for you to follow through with your plan.
This might mean putting your workout clothes out the night before or portioning meals in containers on a Sunday for that week’s lunches.
Plan For Success And Setbacks
The biggest tip I can give about making a new healthy habit is to plan in advance. This means carving out time to workout just like you would set an appointment. Make the time to meal prep if you are easily tempted to fall off a diet.
But also plan for setbacks. For example, there will be times you are sick or tired or just don’t have the motivation to workout. Instead of thinking this of a failure to show up, make it a priority the next day. If the day slipped by and you couldn’t make it to the gym, opt for bodyweight exercises at home.
Have a plan and then have a backup plan.
Checkout The Ultimate Habit Checklist & Mini Guide which includes a monthly habit tracker and space to write and plan out our fitness goals. It’s FREE to download here!