WHY HABITS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES
In the last post, I spoke about how information alone doesn’t create change, and how focusing on too many changes at once can overwhelm us, either leading to ‘paralysis by analysis’ or a short burst of ‘all or nothing’ mentality eventually reverting to our old ways. A better approach is by focusing on one small change at a time which is aligned to your long-term goal, until it becomes a habit before adopting another small change.
So what are habits
Habits are short-term daily actions/tasks which work towards a long-term goal. By doing these habits as often as we can, we are PRACTISING CHANGE, experiencing something different and ACTIONING ourselves into change, rather than just imagining it or wanting it.
Action > Information
Doing > Knowing
No matter how much you may know, or how much you want something, only consistent, daily action creates change, and we create change best by doing.
Take for example learning to ride a bicycle... Unfortunately, we can’t think ourselves to riding successfully even though we want to be able to do it ‘NOW’. We have to get hands-on and practice.
Some of us probably attempted to pick up the bicycle and go, before realizing we were biting off more than we can chew. So much to our disappointment, our parents (the ‘experts’) always knowing what’s best for us, fixed on the stabilizers, and the task is broken down into a smaller, more manageable and achievable challenge aligned with our goal.
We begin accomplishing the goal over and over again through hours of practice, gaining in confidence, and inspired to do more. Finally, we are experienced and rocking the tricycle. Time to progress to the final step, say farewell to the extra wheels and to do it FOR REAL.
The first few attempts after taking of the stabilizers, feels weird, unusual and challenging. We may even fall off a few times, but we keep on practicing, building on our previous experiences – what’s working for us and what’s not.
Eventually, we manage our first full cycle without any slips ups, wow what a feeling! Inspiration and confidence is through the roof, and we’re motivated to keep on practicing. Finally, riding a bike becomes second nature, the thoughts, behavioural patterns, and actions are parceled up and stored. It’s as easy as brushing your teeth or tying your shoe laces ;)
this is a habit / practiced - based approach
With most of the things you have achieved successfully and sustained, you’re probably realizing you took a similar approach to this.
Habits make tough things become easy with practice, they integrate new skills so they become AUTOMATIC to us, they build our SELF-CONFIDENCE, and they make us BETTER AT CHANGE itself.
We are motivated and inspired by DOING and EXPERIENCING, and by doing and experiencing, we BUILD BELIEF in ourselves, confidence and more motivation.
Every element of this habit-based approach can be APPLIED TO OUR HEALTH. When we see and feel change happening, and experience ourselves making new healthier choices, we begin to think that CHANGE IS POSSIBLE. We can’t ‘un-know’ the fact that we just made a healthier choice, and we start to imagine making more and more healthier choices.
Each small, manageable and actionable habit taken, is a step towards CHANGE… and they add up CUMULATIVELY. Every time you perform the habit, it creates EVIDENCE that things can change and that can only inspire you to keep on going and progressing.
Achievable habits, keep you IN THE PRESENT, keep you focused on the TODAY, knowing what you can do today to reach your goals, preventing the ‘worry and wondering’, and the ‘what ifs’.
HABIT-BASED COACHING in health, gives YOU the bicycle with some suggestions on how to ride it, but you do the riding (the practicing of the habit).
You find a way in which the habit WORKS FOR YOU, you take the concept and INDIVIDUALISE it to your strengths, your lifestyle, your environment.
For an example: If you’re asked to eat more protein, you decide on what kind of protein you like and what you want to include. If you’re asked to eat slowly, eat more fruits and vegetables, get more sleep, YOU INDIVIDUALISE IT TO YOUR PREFERENCES.
Stuck for inspiration? In a good habit-based coaching program you’ll be provided with examples of ‘HOW TO’ – as we all need inspiration sometimes! These examples may work well and fit you like a glove, if not, they conceptualize the habit so that you can alter it slightly to your lifestyle.
When you feel like you’re in charge of your health, have self-control and autonomy, you stay engaged, inspired and motivated for progression.
As a result:
- You get to your goals quicker and easier
- Maintain the results better
- Be able to accomplish them within the realms of real life (with all the distractions, complexities, and surprises).
This is why… Habits speak for themselves.
I've got a really interesting one for you coming up...
UP NEXT: Beyond Numbers - Counting Calories
Stay Healthy & Happy!