Wait wait…..stop making excuses and start forming new habits

I hate my alarm clock, it’s evil! But at the same time I have to admire the little thing, it’s not afraid to pipe up at the crack of dawn knowing full well how much I will detest the very sight of it because of its loud holler. I’m surprised I’m allowed to press snooze that many times. I’m sure you can relate. My nightly routine lately has been setting my alarm clock for 5am before I go to sleep telling myself “tomorrow Sarah, you are going to go to the gym BEFORE work and you will love it and have sooo much more energy!” Then 5am rolls around and I reset the alarm for 6, then 6:30 and before I know it I’m not on schedule at all and the rest of my day is compromised because of it.

We all do things to procrastinate, we even procrastinate WHILE we’re procrastinating. (Ever went to Facebook to avoid homework or something work related, realized you wanted to write a friend a message and then ended up on Pinterest? yeah, I know) The excuses for not eating healthy or exercising are ENDLESS:

“I don’t have time!”

“I can’t afford it”

“Not all of us have your motivation, Sarah”

The point is where ever you are now in your healthy (or not-so-healthy-quite-yet) lifestyle, you consciously or subconsciously made an effort to form habits for why and how you do the things you do today on a daily basis. There’s been research done to suggest that it takes an average of 66 days to form a habit, which may seem like a long time when you want to create a new one, but really, it isn’t that long when you think about how indefinite habits become.

Habits also seem to work very similarly to how our minds do, we want instant gratification. Therefore, if you wanted to start eating chocolate everyday at 2pm you’d find it a pretty easy goal to maintain since the reward would be instantaneous and delicious. The same applies to things like establishing an exercise routine. The first week or so may seem easy; suddenly you’re feeling great, you have more energy, life kicks ass, and then meh, you’re just maintaining. Why should we keep up this habit when it doesn’t feel like we’re gaining much anymore? There are great ways to start establishing habits that include:

  • Visualization – envision what you want your life to be and how this new habit will creat that for you
  • Get a buddy – if it’s something like exercising or reading everyday, keep each other accountable
  • Write down and define the habits you want to create
  • Form habits that link together – you won’t get anywhere if one habit is to lose weight and the other is to chug more lard
  • Track your habits!
  • Remind yourself – use sticky notes, set phone and outlook reminders, have your friends bug you (there’s nothing people love more than that “did you get to the gym fatty!?” ok my friends aren’t that mean)
  • Make it attainable. Realize that sometimes your habits will be in flux, if you can’t take your vitamin C at 8:05am one day then don’t beat yourself up when you do remember and end up taking it at 3pm
  • Try to stick to new habits daily for 30 days or a set time frame – I want to start working out before work every morning at 5am so Monday-Friday for the next month I am GOING to!
  • Replace, don’t deprive. If new habits require giving up old ones then find other ways to keep yourself happy. If you ate ice cream every night before bed consider reading or making hot tea every night before bed instead.

I truly believe it’s possible to make the time for the priorities in your life. I know that I could probably gain about 4 hours a day if I stopped Facebooking, seriously. If you’re too tired, get more sleep, if you have too much to do, stop putting so much on your plate. It’s ok to say “no” to yourself and start saying “yes” to the things that truly matter in your life, like your health.

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