Last week, we talked about staying consistent and how it plays into our health. Today, I want to talk about something that helps with staying consistent.
They are what help us to become consistent and stay consistent. Habits, even the ones we don’t think about, are a part of our lives every day, all day. From the time we wake up and brush our teeth, to our morning cups of coffee, to kissing your spouse on the way out the door on the way to work, habits are integrated into our lives.
Not all habits are created equal. Some are good, some are bad…really bad. It is pretty obvious that we want the good ones and not the bad. The not so obvious part is, how do we create new habits that are good for us?
Let’s face it, if we like to sleep in and we are trying to start working out in the morning, it isn’t as easy as just saying, “I’m going to get up.” I mean, for some it may be. For a lot of us, it isn’t that easy (because that snooze button feels nice at 4:30AM).
Habits, like anything else, are formed over time. Like someone who goes to the gym everyday, it just becomes a part of who they are. They incorporate it into their identity. In order for that to happen, we have to get started. So over the next week or two I’m going to give you a couple of tips on starting new habits that will help as you try to make these subtle, yet life altering, habits.
For those interested in waking up early, try this little exercise. Start forming the habit of waking up early practicing it when you aren’t so tired. Three or four times in the same day, during the day, when you aren’t normally sleeping, practice the following.
Go to your room, turn out the lights, pull the shades down, set an alarm for 7-10 minutes from that point (3-5 if you go to sleep instantly), and then actually start to relax as if you’re going to fall asleep. The second that the alarm goes off, swing your legs out of bed, turn off your alarm, get up, and proceed as if it were your normal day.
Whatever your next habit is in your routine, do that. If you brush your teeth first, then do that. If it is to make coffee, then start the process of putting the filter in the machine. You get the point.
You’ll find that the next morning when you try to get up early, it will be almost a reaction. This also works for those of you who just spend too much time hitting the snooze button and want to change it.