You and I are creatures of habits. It’s amazing how many decisions are made in our daily lives without thinking. Some studies even show that subconscious habit makes up 40% of our daily actions! Therefore, in order to keep that ‘40%’ full of healthy actions we’ll discuss how to change unhealthy habits with “mini habits”.
One misconception about habits is that they take a lot of effort to build, but I disagree. Nature shows us that a small snowball rolling downhill will eventually get bigger and stronger with enough momentum. The snowball doesn’t require much “effort” once it gets going. In the same way, we’ll use effortless mini habits to build daily momentum towards our goals.
There’s a saying that goes “success is built upon success”. Fortunately this quote never mentions how big the success has to be! Think of a mini-habit as a daily task towards your goal that’s SO simple that it’s hard not to do it every day. For instance:
If your goal is to improve your gym consistency, start a mini habit of driving past your local gym on the way home each day (nothing more!)
If you want to build a strong core, start a mini habit of simply laying in sit-up position on the ground for a few seconds (yep! that’s it!)
If you want to drink more watereach day, start a mini habit of simply filling up a water bottle (I didn’t even say you had to drink it!)
“Great! But isn’t this a little TOO simple…what’s the catch?”
Mini habits are designed to get you comfortable with taking the first step towards your new goal (a healthier habit).
Therefore, these too-easy-not-to-do mini-habits simply serve as your “daily bare minimum” accomplishment for the day. However, I assure you it won’t be long before you naturally feel compelled to do more simply because you “might as well”. You’ll figure:
“I’m already driving by the gym each day (mini habit accomplished), I might as well go inside on the treadmill for a couple minutes”
“I’m already down here in sit-up position (mini habit accomplished), I might as well do a couple”
“I’ve already filled my water bottle (mini habit accomplished), I might as well drink some”
Remember: The “mini habit accomplished” is your main goal, anything else is an extra bonus.
Furthermore, I would seriously recommend making your momentum visible by utilizing a journal or checklist calendar. Keeping track of your progress this way is a great way to see your “success building upon itself”. Seeing your daily momentum gives yourself a satisfying sense of accomplishment every day. The longer your daily “success streak” gets, the more you’ll want to keep it alive.
And boom – you’ve just created discipline without even realizing it.
Let’s get that snowball rollin 🙂
New habits are best acquired through daily momentum
Daily momentum is best sustained through simple, mini habits
A mini-habit (baby step) is something that’s “too-easy-not-to-do“
Keep track of your daily progress in a journal or calendar checklist
Year after year there’s excitement to start off the New Year “fresh” by vowing to break bad habits and gain new skills. After all, we all know the universal New Year’s Day mantra: “This is it! This is my year! Time to take this year by storm and make the changes into a better new me!”
Unfortunately, statistics show every year how this “new year, new me” phenomena is almost always short-lived. Some statistics even show how most New Year’s resolutions don’t even make it past January. But why? Thus, I present to you…New Day Resolutions!
That’s right: Here at Daily Fit Boost each day is a clean slate!
After all, if we really want to implement changes in our lifestyle why wait for a new year, right? By using each day as a new launching pad, not only do you reinforce your personal desires each day, you also begin to appreciate the value of each day.
No other person has expressed this philosophy better than Head Football Coach Chip Kelly who coaches with the mantra “Win the Day”. This mindset to win each day eventually turns into habit. Even if you’ve had a “bad day” and didn’t reach your goals, winning each day enables you to start each day afresh.
In my experience, the feeling of 365 daily victories is more satisfying than attaining one victory at the end of your goal.
So challenge yourself to make incremental changes daily instead of yearly. Start today with win #1! Before you know it, you’ll start noticing these daily victories leading to overall motivation and confidence.
It’s proven year after year that New Year Resolutions are not ideal for success.
It’s much better to reinforce your goals (resolutions) each day to build habit
The mindset to “win each day” eventually becomes a habit.
Habit formation help build motivation and overall confidence.
One summer while working at a gym I became curious about how fast I could sprint 40-yards. I decided to time myself on the indoor track and my first sprint came out to around 4.8 seconds. As a former athlete I didn’t think 4.8 seconds was very fast, and so it turned into a self-competition to reach a “fast enough time”.
Notice, I never gave myself an actual goal of how fast I wanted to run.
The only “goal” I had was to keep beating my best time.
This went on for months until I finally peaked at around 4.49 seconds.
In “Why Not Me”, we learned to narrow our focus on becoming the best version of ourselves. Moreover, we ultimately become the best version of ourselves by competing against ourselves. Perhaps the best thing about self-competition is that it prevents you from comparing yourself to others. With self-competition the focus is on you. This is why I suggest visual strategies like journaling to help focus you on your daily progress (and not anyone else’s 🙂 )
What are some things you did yesterday that you can do even better today?
Can you exercise for 5 more minutes today?
Raise the intensity?
Increase your sets and reps?
Even if you’re new to the gym start by recognizing where you’re currently at and take baby steps from there. If you only go to the gym once a week, try going twice a week for a month. If you only know how to use one cardio machine, try learning a new one next time. Regardless of skill level, the key is to continuously have something to work towards.
Soon enough you’ll notice that you’re not just your greatest competitor, but your greatest ally as well.
Self-competition requires practice
We ultimately become the best version of ourselves through self-competition
Self-competition prevents you from comparing yourself to others
When it comes to daily health and fitness, journaling your progress is essential to your success. Often times we get so caught up in our daily routines that we easily forget where we started. Reflection on our progress provides us with the encouragement we need to move forward.
Journal reflection becomes particularly important at times when we become frustrated from not seeing immediate results.
For instance, it’s much easier to appreciate that you stuck to your exercise routine 5 days in a row, than it is to complain about not losing any weight in the last 5 days.
Thankfully, writing down our progress helps keep us process-minded rather than goal-oriented.
Furthermore, the great thing about journaling is that it can be useful in a variety of ways in our everyday lives. Sometimes I’ll find a random journal topic that helps me learn more about myself. Other times I’ll journal just to vent and rant on personal things.
Journaling has proven to be one the few stress-relievers that I can practice just about anywhere. Other benefits include:
Improved communication skills
So whether you’re keeping track of progress or writing about an interesting topic, use journaling as an excellent tool to keep you mindful about your personal growth!
FIT BOOST CHALLENGE: For one week, write down how you feel after each workout. What was your experience in the gym like? How did you feel before compared to after? Did you reach a new goal? Take note of any daily progress and see what changes along the way!
Writing down your progress helps prevent frustrations
Tracking our progress helps keep us process-minded rather than goal-oriented.
Journaling can be useful in a variety of ways in our lives
Years ago I was at a place in life where I completely lost the motivation to exercise regularly. Thankfully, it didn’t take long for me to bounce back and start a new routine. What’s interesting is that during this period I began discovering ‘why’ exercising was important to me again.
Like most things we commit to in life, it’s important to figure out the ‘why’ in what we’re doing.
Since I decided to take ownership over my health and well-being again, I had to figure out why I wanted to get back into my workout routine again.
I knew that regular exercise kept me balanced in other areas of life, and helped me to become a better person.
While setting goals for your exercise program is important, your reason (WHY) serves as the backbone for your goal and takes it a step further. Quite frankly, the reason for your goal is a lot more stable than the feeling associated with your goal.
Chances are you’re not going to feel as motivated at the gym on “Day 56” as you did on “Day 1”, but the reason why you’re working out should remain the same on both days.
Feelings of motivation ignite the flame, but your ‘why’ keeps the flame going.
In order to get the most out of your wellness experience whatever you’re doing has to be meaningful to you. A good way to begin is by identifying your personal desires. Furthermore, activities such as writing things out and daily meditation are powerful tools to use to empower you along your fitness journey.
Take ownership over your well-being
Figure out the reason for why you’re committing to your exercise routine
“Motivated feelings” change far more that “meaningful reasons”
Make whatever you’re doing become meaningful to you
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