Habits and the Power of Routine

Are you looking to make a change in your life for the better?  Are you stuck in the same old rut and routine of never being able to commit to new challenges?  Of course in relation to The Strength Lifestyle, I’m mainly speaking about fitness and nutrition aka: sitting on the couch saying to yourself “I’ll start going to the gym on Monday” or sitting in front of the TV devouring tubs of ice cream saying to yourself “the diet starts Monday…”. 

Although more prevalent in peoples’ fitness and nutrition goals, this can also relate to other areas of your life including your work, family, relationship, etc.  Regardless, If you can relate, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  And you definitely know that you WILL NOT be going to the gym on Monday and you WILL NOT be starting your diet Monday.  How do we change that and what are some strategies to combat your own worst enemy? …yourself.

Before we dive into those strategies, lets touch on something that usually punches the best version of yourself in the face before you can even come close to becoming that best version of yourself… EXCUSES!  Everybody I have ever worked with that cannot commit themselves to what they want to accomplish carry around a ton of excuses and boy, have I heard them all.  Some are for sure more valid than others but at the end of the day, excuses keep fueling the part of you that won’t change.  Instead of keeping this “excuses” part vague, let’s get right into a few of the big ones and what they really mean more times than not.

“I have no time to go to the gym” = You wake up, scroll through social media until it’s time to leave for work/school, go to work/school, come home, then scroll through social media, play video games, and watch Netflix until you fall asleep.

“He/She has better genetics than me” = They might have better genetics but I bet they also work pretty damn hard to look like that.  Genetics don’t get you up at 5am to train.

“I have a slow metabolism” = You actually are consuming way too many calories than you should be which of course will be a roadblock for any kind of weight loss.

“I just have ZERO willpower” = Biggest hunk of bullshit in the world.  You have willpower but you CHOOSE to tell yourself that you do not which only furthers the problem.

The first step in combating any excuses in general is to start taking responsibility for your actions.  Understand that YOU are in control of whatever YOU do.  Most people will never get to where they want to be because they blame others for everything that happens to them.   I cannot emphasize that enough: YOU ARE IN CONTROL OF WHATEVER YOU DO.   Enough with the talk on excuses.  Let’s get to some strategies that can help you on your journey to a better you.  

ESTABLISH A NEW ROUTINE

Most of us already have our routines.  We wake up, go to work/school, do whatever we do after that, find some time for something we enjoy doing, go to bed, repeat.  Most of us don’t even realize or question our routines.  We just go through them day after day.  If you have goals (again, speaking from a fitness, nutrition, and body composition perspective), establishing a NEW routine is powerful.  If you follow a similar schedule as mentioned above and you want to get in shape or finally have the body you’ve always wanted, you need to find time to train.  You need to incorporate it into your routine! 

The crazy part is that for most people, this won’t require massive groundbreaking changes.  It comes down to sacrificing 30 minutes to an hour when you’d normally be just scrolling through social media or watching Netflix.  This does not have to be every day either.  Start by maybe getting to the gym 2-3 times per week.  That is 2-3 HOURS OUT OF YOUR ENTIRE WEEK, TOPS!  I hate diving into math (I actually love it…) but that is 2-3 hours out of 168 hours in the week.   That is 1.8% of your week.  Start understanding that you can make MASSIVE changes in your health and physique by devoting 1.8% of your time to training.

They say it takes anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months to form a new habit or lifestyle.  If you can commit to getting to the gym or being more active for those 2-3 hours a week for a few weeks, things will start falling into place.  The hardest part is getting started.  Once you get going on a new routine and start seeing the results of what you are doing, your motivation goes through the roof!  Anybody who has lost weight or built a substantial amount of muscle in the past can tell you.  When you’re seeing your weight drop week to week or month to month, you WANT TO stick to your routine!  You become OBSESSED with your results! 

WAKE YOUR ASS UP!

Most of us don’t want to hear this, but waking up earlier can lead to tremendous changes in your health, fitness, and overall well-being.  I do not want to sound one-sided here because I know there are plenty of people who are more productive later on in the day, but you never know until you try both.  If you have a hard time “finding time” to commit to the gym, try waking up earlier.  If by the end of the day you are completely burnt out from long days at work, class, sport, etc. and have no motivation to work out, try waking up earlier.      

It sounds terrible but the results are usually outstanding.  For the majority of us, the early morning is where there is nothing going on.  There are no commitments, no work meetings, no extracurricular activities, no phone calls, and usually nobody to bother you.  It is extremely peaceful and a great break from the craziness of everyday life.  You will immediately notice that your energy levels will be higher throughout the day.  Instead of rolling out of bed at 8:45am and still being half asleep when you punch in at 9am, you will be wired and motivated to take on the day!  It’s very hard to explain and it sounds incredibly cliché and yuppity, but just give it a try for a few weeks and see what happens.

You will also feel satisfied knowing that you are done with your activity for the day.  You can go to work or school knowing that training is OVER.  This one was a biggie for me personally.  I learned pretty quick that after a long day of class or work (for me, this was being out on a baseball field for anywhere between 3 and 7 hours), there wasn’t a single part of me that wanted to go to the gym.  I completely get it.  Once I started training in the morning, I can honestly say I haven’t missed a day of training in close to five years.  I should also add that exercise in the morning also leads to better quality of sleep later on in the day.  We’re all our own worst enemy but the quicker we can find ways around it, the closer we’ll be to achieving results.

PLAN IN ADVANCE

I’ll probably do an entire post just on some of the following concepts but the first one that comes to mind when talking about planning in advance is meal prepping.  I touched on training for a good part of this so far but nutritionally speaking, meal prepping can be beneficial for a variety of reasons.  First off, the stress of deciding what to eat goes out the window.  One less thing to worry about.  Secondly, if you prepare healthy meals to eat throughout the week, you will be less likely to just ditch what you made for junk food instead.  If you’re completely new to any of these concepts, just let Google work its magic.  Meal prepping is “the thing” nowadays and you can find how-to’s and a wide variety of recipes to try out for yourself.

Planning in advance goes way past just meal prepping.  This can also be beneficial in your daily routine.  For example, cut down your time in the mornings by getting your gym bag and gym clothes together THE NIGHT BEFORE.  Put your work or school clothes out for the next day.  It takes a whopping 2-3 minutes to do each night and when you wake up still half asleep to start training in the morning, you’ll be glad you did.  You’ll be amazed at how much time you save when you spend a few minutes to set up tomorrow’s day.  This has been a strategy that has personally kept me on track for years. 

MOVING FORWARD

This can be a lot to take in if you really feel like you’ve been spinning your wheels for a while, jumping in and out of motivation and different attempts at actually “getting going.” To reiterate, the hardest part is actually getting started Once you begin a new routine, you have the ability to make changes in your life for the better. Of course this is mainly for those who cannot stick to fitness and nutritional goals but the concepts in this post about the power of routine can be applied anywhere! Understand that you are in control of whatever you do, take charge, and watch yourself take off in whatever you seek to accomplish.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  1. Accept responsibility for your actions and understand that you are in control of changing your habits for the better.
  2. If you struggle with your personal goals, establish a new routine where you can align your everyday life with those goals.
  3. Waking up and starting your day earlier can lead to a number of benefits.
  4. Plan your days in advance to cut down on stress and time!

As always, please share this article with any friends and family that may benefit from the information.  You play just as important of a role in helping The Strength Lifestyle change peoples’ lives as we do! 

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