Forming Good Habits
New years is coming around, so it’s a great time for people to start thinking of forming good habits and aligning them with their resolution(s) for the new year. I write that half sarcastically because if you actually care about getting better, you’d have started trying to get better when you realized you wanted to get better. Anyway, if you must wait until an entirely new year, so be it–just make sure you’re always looking to improve.
There’s a very similar post over here that might provide a slightly different perspective on this (even though it talks about a particular habit that’s created). In general, people hear the word habit and the idea of bad habits comes to mind. You know, picking your nose, biting your nails, curling in the squat rack, etc… But habits don’t have to be bad, and you can actually form good habits to help you become a better person. So what’s the catch? Good habits aren’t as easy to form as bad habits.
How Long Does It Take?
First of all, if this is your big concern then you aren’t dedicated enough to getting better. Get over it. If you’re lifting weights already then you know good things don’t happen over night, so enjoy the grind along the way. Anyway, there’s no exact number that applies universally to every person and every habit… but the reality is that it’s not a very short period of time.
This post over here does a pretty good job of trying to explain that. The irony is that I’m propagating information from this post, and like the author says:
If enough people say something enough times, then everyone else starts to believe it.
But anyway, I’m not suggesting you go record the numbers this author mentions in your workout logbook and then try to say “it too me 67 days and not 66 days!”. The whole point of referencing that article is to show you that good habits aren’t quick to form. You need to put in the effort to form those habits just like you put in the effort for your workouts and your meal prep.
How Do I get Started?
Slowly. It’s touched on over in this post, but I think it’s an incredibly important point: slowly start introducing new habits so that you don’t get overwhelmed and need to restart. The hardest part about all of this is being consistent with your habit that you’re trying to form, and even once you form it, it’s not like there’s zero effort to maintain it.
Think about how you brush your teeth every day. If you wake up late every day to get to work and need to rush out the door, you’d start skipping things like breakfast or brushing your teeth. You might barely just be able to get dressed (but we all thank you for not skipping that one). In order to keep up the good habit of brushing your teeth, you need to make sure you wake up with enough time to get dressed, eat your breakfast, and then brush your teeth with enough time remaining to get to work. It’s not like it’s rocket surgery but it’s still not zero effort to make it happen. If you try tackling too many new habits at once, you might find that the little amount of effort to get each happening stacks up really fast and your whole plan falls apart.
So start slow. Introduce one new habit and try making sure you can do it consistently for a few weeks. Only after you feel confident that you’ve been able to do your habit for a few weeks should you introduce a new one. If it takes you four months to get confident with your new habit, then wait that long.
What Are Swoletron’s Habit Goals?
I have a few habits that I’d either like to resurrect or start doing.:
- Drink more water. I have a two prong attack to make this one easier to achieve. The first is leveraging my own advice and drinking some water every time I use the washroom. I have a big water jug that I can leave filled up and sealed in my ensuite so I don’t have an excuse to not drink water. The next is removing the flavor from my caffeine drink I sip all day at work. Essentially, it becomes just water+caffeine+beta alanine. It’ll make me feel more like I’m just sipping water through the day, so if I finish it early, I can just go add more water to my shaker. It’s more of a mental thing really. There’s nothing stopping me from doing that now.
- Blog more. Taking the advice from this post, I’d like to schedule a bit more time to blog a bit more. I don’t think I have anything groundbreaking to tell my absurdly small audience, but I enjoy doing it. I just need to make the time.
- Read more about lifting, nutrition, and training in general. There’s a lot to learn and I hate feeling like I’m stagnating in my learnin’s. My mother picked up the bodybuilding encyclopedia for me for Christmas (as pictured at the top of this post) so I have this to dig into.
- Track my macros better. I generally eat pretty healthy but binge eating and portion control are a big problem for me. I want to build up the skills for portion control and macro counting so that they become second nature for me.
Where am I at with these? I’ve been macro counting for a couple months now very regularly. I’m actually enjoying the process of flexible dieting and being consistent with what I eat. Because I’ve built some confidence with this habit, I’ve now moved on to adding my water habit in. Once that one feels more solidified, I’ll move onto getting reading a more routine habit!