How do you stay on track so you can achieve your fitness goals?
How do you guarantee that whatever fitness goal you set for yourself this year, you’re going to stay the course and consequently get the body you want?
Whether you’ve decided that this is the year that you lose that excess 10-15lbs and keep it off
Or you’re going to take care of your health and nutrition by eating healthy
Or you want to get super lean and shredded by hitting the gym
Or you just want to have more energy, fitness and stamina and you want to start running in morning again. (or for the first time)
These are all goals that require repeatable actions and rituals. You need to have some powerful actions that you do regularly enough to see real results.
You know it and and you’ve probably tried and failed to stick to your fitness goal in the past. It happens to all of us from time to time. You start on your journey to be this new way that will get you there but then life gets in the way, the enthusiasm and initial motivation wears off or you run out of willpower.
The 1 key to achieve your health and fitness goals isn’t more determination or stronger willpower. Its having a powerful habit that is so strong that once set, your actions towards cultivating your dream body becomes automatic and inevitable.
Here’s where most people fail in setting and achieving a fitness goal that sticks.
They rely on raw willpower alone.
Here’s the thing you need to know about willpower and why it fails to keep you on track.
You only get a little bit of willpower each day. Its actually been proven that willpower is something real and measurable. It turns out that your willpower and your level of self control varies on the amount of blood glucose in a certain region of your brain AND it depletes throughout your day.
What that means is that everything… absolutely everything that you do, think about, focus on and have to make a decision about actually depletes your willpower.
Using raw willpower to install a new and empowering habit is a losing battle.
So, how do you set a fitness habit that sticks?
First, you have to know that setting a habit that will last and automatically bring you the fitness results you strive for is not an easy path. You will hit some walls. I want to share with you a model that illustrates the path to placing a strong habit into place for long term success.
The Habit Curve
[Image from GetAltitude.com]
As you can see, there are 4 phases on your journey to setting an unshakable habit.
phase 1: Enthusiasm and optimism
You've just gotten committed to your new goal and the habit and behaviors that'll get you there and you're breeming with energy, excitement and optimism. This is the best part because all that enthusiasm carries you through for the first week or so.
Phase 2: Enthusiasm crash
Now the novelty has worn off, the new behaviors are getting hard to sustain and it starts to feel really hard. This is where many people fall off the wagon. This is your first wall of the habit curve to overcome.
Phase 3: Active resistance
If you survive the enthusiasm crash and you stay the course, you now enter phase 3 which is the phase of active resistance. This is pretty much where the new habit is still a challenge but since you survived the enthusiasm crash, you have more resilience now. Stay strong here. If you survive this phase, you get to phase 4.
Phase 4: Habit formation
After 21 days, you have a new habit. Once your there, you now have a programing that will guarantee your success to achieving your fitness goal.
The best part is that the habit gets even easier the longer you do it. The more you do it, the deeper it hard wires. 21 days is how long it takes to hold, but it gets true strength at around the 50 day mark. So, stay the course.
How do you survive the habit curve?
There are 2 walls you will face in the habit curve.
The first wall will be that enthusiasm crash.
The second wall will be surviving the active resistance phase.
The only thing that will make you fall off at either of those stages is your lack of follow through.
There are 3 reasons that can cause you to fall off the wagon.
- You lose determination and willpower
- You have conflicting interests
- Life gets in the way
While I touched on the first reason and why willpower will only get you so far, you will need some initial internal drive.
The second reason is a whole topic in itself but to keep it short, make sure that you're willing to let go of old actions and behaviors that are no longer serving you if your serious about achieving your fitness goal.
The 3rd reason is a tough one to overcome.
The thing about what makes up your life and what fills it is what you're physically surrounded by.
If you have an environment that stops you from doing the things you need to, the odds are stacked against you.
If you don't have the space to exercise or...
If your schedule doesn't allow the time to get fit or...
If your surrounded by food that doesn't support your health and fitness goals or...
If your surrounded by people that don't exactly support your likelihood of following through...
All of that can be a problem.
Your environment has a huge impact on your behavior and when it comes to reaching your health and fitness goals successfully, you need to have physical conditions in your day to day life that actually encourages you to stick to your new actions and habits.
I call this the Power of Predisposition.
The Power of Predisposition (PoP) is a surefire way to increase your likelihood of following through with your actions and habits without having to will yourself into it. Without needing more determination or self control. Its a way to guarantee that what you need to do get the body you want happens inevitably and automatically.
A predisposition is something like brushing your teeth everyday because you have your toothbrush and toothpaste in the same room of the house that you shower. The bathroom.
You can use PoP to increase the likelihood of you following through with your new health and fitness habits.
Lets say you want to get back into running everyday. How can you do that so that it happens automatically?
Instead of having to remember to do it and go out of your way to do it every single day, you can set up your life and your environment so it becomes automatic.
In the case of going jogging everyday, what would you need to have set up so it happens by itself?
Is there some running gear you need to have ready the night before so you can get right into it the next morning?
Is there a park on the way to or from where you work that you can stop for your daily run?
I'll use an example that i use in my fitness. I have a spot where I like to exercise everyday around 5:30-6:00 pm. Its a spot just by the river. I go there every single day even when I don't feel like exercising. Some days I have less energy, less commitment and less willpower but I go there anyway. I've found that no matter how uncommitted I am that day, just going there increases my likelihood of exercising or working out.
Where in your life can you set things up so you're more predisposed to follow through?
How can you make your fitness habit inevitable and automatic?
If your trying to eat healthy, what kind of foods do you want to surround yourself with? What do you need to fill your fridge and pantry? What needs to come out of your fridge and pantry?
If you're trying to exercise daily to shed that 10-15 lbs, where can you go to workout without effort? What equipment or gear do you want to have around you to get the job done? Who can encourage you and maybe exercise with you? What physical objects can you have with you or around that just by looking t will inspire you to get fit?
If you want to survive the habit curve and get to day 21 and beyond, using the PoP will give you a significant edge at forging a powerful habit that sticks because if you make it inevitable and automatic, it becomes a habit which is by nature inevitable and automatic.
Inspired by fitness,
Clinton Boucheix, CPT
Founder of FitnessAces.com