The Power of Habits

Stephen Covey defines habits as “the intersection of knowledge, skill, and desire”.  You pretty much have to have all 3 things in place in order to make something a habit.  According to Anthony Robbins, we don’t change our bad habits until the negative consequences of those habits begin to outweigh the pleasure we get from it.  Let’s take smoking for example.  You KNOW smoking is bad for your health.  However, you might ignore this until the doctor tells you that you have some sort of cancer that is directly attributed to this – like lung or throat cancer.  When you’re faced with such a daunting personal health crisis, this might cause you to change your smoking habit.  Ok… let’s talk about weight.  Say you have a habit of eating half a carton of ice-cream every night.  This tastes soooooo good, and it’s so comforting after a long stressful day at work.  However, 3 weeks later, you get on the scale – and you’ve gained a whopping 15 pounds!  This might cause you to curtail, or at least cut back on, that ice-cream. 

When it comes to weight management, it’s really worth the time (and maybe money) investment to learn and develop the knowledge, skills, and desire to live a HEALTHY lifestyle.  Learn what to eat; learn how to exercise; learn how to deal with stress; learn how your body works and what it needs to thrive; find ways to enjoy healthy foods; find activities you enjoy doing; focus on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, instead of focusing on what you “can’t have” or “can’t do”. 

In order to stop bad habits, it’s much easier to substitute a bad habit with a new,  healthy, productive behavior.  For example, if your downfall is eating in front of the television at night – try going out for an evening walk instead of watching tv. 

Here’s a suggestion:  write down your three most effective/empowering training/nutritional habits.  Then write down your three most destructive training/nutritional habits.  Take a moment to identify the benefits or rewards you experience from each habit, and also negative outcomes (if any) of each habit.  Are the benefits of the bad habits worth the cost?

The good thing about establishing new habits is that it usually takes about 3 weeks to form a new habit.  After that, you start to get some momentum, and it becomes part of your lifestyle.  Newton’s first law of motion states that “an object at rest tends to stay at rest, and an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force”.  In other words, once something or someone motivates you to get moving, it’s easier to KEEP moving in the right direction than it is to start & stop.  So, once you get moving in the right direction… KEEP GOING!

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