Habitual Offender

We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit. -Aristole

If you answered the question from the WOD Blog with 21 days you might be surprised to find out that you’re both right and wrong.

The common misconception that a habit takes 21 days to form was started back in the 1950’s by a plastic surgeon observing how long it took his patients to become accustomed to their new face/appendage/feature. The “21 days to a new habit” myth is one that has stuck and permeated the self help industry…but if you’re looking to make REAL changes, be prepared to hold on a little big longer.

How much longer? Well, studies indicate that it’s different for every human and that our thresholds for will power vary greatly across the board, but in about 66 days you should be able to say you have a NEW habit.

So, for you 30 day challengers you’re only about half way to a new habit and you 60 day challengers may hold onto your new food lifestyle longer than than your 30 day challenge counterparts.

Need help setting yourself up for habitual success? Here’s a few tips —

  • Find your motivation. Is it to fit into your favorite pair of jeans again?
  • Create “micro quotas” and “macro goals.” – Your goal should be something you wish to accomplish while your daily quotas are the minimum amount of work that will get you there performed daily. (ie – Goal: Eat healthy. Quotas: Eat 2 healthy balanced meals a day.)
  • Have a plan and stick to the plan. (ie – Have healthy snacks available. Plan your meals out for the week.)
  • Be accountable. That’s where the food logs come in!
  • Have support. Enlist a spouse or roommate to help prepare meals with you. Tell your friends what you’re doing.
  • Eliminate “Ahscrewit!” moments. You know what I’m talking about, don’t be coy. We’ve all been standing in front of the ice cream/chips/cookies/enter your vice here and thought “Ahscrewit…” So, how do you eliminate this? Well, you don’t, but you do learn to forgive yourself for the slip up and look at it as one small bump instead of a complete derailment. Focus on the number of days you’ve been able to stick with your habit instead of the fact that you broke your daily goal quota.
  • Identify triggers. Does work make you eat terribly? Do you not drink water when you’re home? Does PMS derail you? By identifying what makes it hard for you to stick with your new habit you can more easily avoid pitfalls.
  • Be prepared for sabotage. Both from yourself and outside pressures.
  • Be aware of self-talk. What we say to ourselves is louder than any words said to us at any given time. Be aware of what you’re saying to yourself and BE POSITIVE.
  • Sleep. No, it’s true. Sleep. It’s our greatest restorative and regenerative power as humans. So do it.

Ok, so…what are you going to do tonight? That’s right! You’re going to put your goals on paper (or in your electronic log)!  (….oh, and get some sleep!)

Make sure you come back tomorrow and read up on will power and stickwithitness!

Good luck guys!

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