Human brains are hardwired for instant gratification, but luckily we can overcome that by learning to recognize patterns and be more disciplined in the life choices we make. That’s where having a growth mindset comes into play. Habits are typically formed anywhere from 18-254 days. On average it takes about 2 months before new behavior become automatic.
Forcing yourself to do something you don’t enjoy will likely set you up to fail. You have first ask yourself: Why do you want to exercise? What are your goals and how important are they to you? Be honest and realistic. When something in your life becomes important it automatically comes up higher in your priority list in life. When you can confidently answer those questions the next step is to:
1.) FIND THE TYPE OF EXERCISE YOU ENJOY
When you find something you enjoy you’ll likely want to do more of it and you’ll dread doing exercise less! You should be looking forward to it and perhaps even becomes the highlight of your day. Exercise types can range from things like lifting weights, TRX, Crossfit, bootcamp style classes, boxing, sports, hiking, running, swimming, biking, etc. Anything physical in nature that gets you up and moving. Try several things and see what sticks best with you. Find what YOU like.
2.) BE CONSISTENT AND ADHERE TO A ROUTINE
Having structure in your life will yield better returns. Determine if you have more availability in the morning or evening and try to choose the same workout time. Try scheduling yourself to workout 2 times a week at the start and once you can consistently do that you can look into adding another day or so.
3.) BEING AWARE AND RECOGNIZE TRIGGERS
Life can get rather busy and personal situations will always occur. When changing habits or beginning to create new habits obstacles will always be presented to you throughout the process. For example, perhaps you chose to making working out first thing in the morning. At this time it’s very easy to sleep in skip your workout…you can either A.) Sleep in or B) stick to originally plan you created for yourself. There is a high chance you’ll feel better after exercising rather than sleeping in. The choices you make either will stray away from your habit building or build on the actual habit you’re trying to achieve.
4.) IDENTIFY PATTERNS. DETERMINE WHAT YOUR “CUE” IS AND REPLACE IT WITH A REWARD.
Let’s say you have a bad habit which causes you to gain 10 lbs. which you’re not to happy about. Everyday at work during your lunch break you wander around in the lunch room and decide to buy a bag of potato chips while chatting with your coworkers. Let’s analyze this: What was the “Cue” that drove that routine? Was it hunger? Boredom? The bag of chips itself? The social activity itself?
Rewards are powerful because they satisfy cravings but we are not conscience of the cravings that drive our behavior. Practice reward replacement is a good start. In this example, perhaps instead of going into the lunchroom, replace it with going outside for a walk to enjoy nature as your reward.
Having a growth mindset and learning how to build good habits will set you up for successful future in everything you do!