How I Tricked Myself Into Creating a Good Habit
For the first 45 days of 2017, I participated in a 45 Day Challenge. What in the world is a 45 Day Challenge, you ask? My personal challenge was pretty straightforward: go to the gym at least 3 times a week and don’t drink alcohol. I’m happy to report that I successfully completed the challenge with no cheating, but I’m even happier to report that since the official challenge ended I’ve still been kickboxing at least times a week. Ladies and gentlemen, I successfully tricked myself into creating a good habit.
Honestly, I would not call myself a naturally healthy person.
I love to travel and can walk 20,000 steps a day without noticing it if I’m in Europe. I also have a tendency to eat like a five year old when left unsupervised and marathon read or watch Netflix on the weekends. I say all this to say that it is possible to create better habits even when they don’t come naturally to you at all.
With my penchant for being a lazy, unhealthy eater, how in the world did I trick myself into making regular appearances at a gym?
1. Keep it simple.
My goal only included one action item: get to the gym three times a week. Before work, after work, on the weekends – it didn’t matter at all. No unnecessary structure, just show up to the gym three times.
2. Only tackle one item at a time in your bad-habit minefield.
I would define my really bad-habit minefield as FOOD AND DRINKS. I happen to live in Nashville, which I’m convinced is a foodie (and drink) capital of the world. There are so many new restaurants opening here each month that you’ll never be able to keep up with all of them, even if you live here. While some winters can be nasty, this particular one has been unseasonably warm… and every Nashvillian loves to eat, drink and socialize on patios over the weekend. It’s our sport here, and we rock at it.
So I decided to just attack one bad habit in the minefield for 45 days – the alcohol. I didn’t mess with the pizza or hot chicken (yet). And I found that the tiny, bite-sized attack on my bad habit minefield was manageable for me.
3. Use the momentum.
I joined my kickboxing gym in late December 2016, and since then, I’ve boxed three times a week every week. One of the primary things that motivates me to go when I don’t want to is that if I don’t go, I’ll break my streak of going three times a week every week. This obviously isn’t an ideal motivator, because if I get sick or injured or go on a trip (like I’m planning to do in April!) then I’ll have to break the streak. But for now, the streak is acting as a motivator, so I’m going with it.
So what is next?
The March Blogging Challenge, of course!
What bad habits are you trying to attack (or what good habits are you trying to create) in 2017? Feel free to share any tips and tricks you have in the comments!