Habit Driven Results

July 25, 2017

I wish I had a glamorous answer for anyone who wants to know the ONE THING that will be the key to success in achieving their fitness goals.  There are companies who try to sell you on their miracle products, promising fast and lasting weight loss by simply using their product; but what they’re selling you on is a new habit. 

For example, instead of eating a meal you use a meal replacement drink.  You start seeing results because using the shake creates a calorie deficit.  If the shake is 100 calories, and your normal breakfast is a McDonald’s Egg McMuffin, which is 300 calories you can see the clear calorie difference here.  But what makes these weight loss products successful is that they make it easy for you to say "No" to the sandwich and "Yes" to the quick and easy drink.  Before you run out the door in the morning you grab your shaker bottle and you’re off to start your day; even more quickly than you would be if you stopped at McDonalds.  Boom, a new habit, and an easy way to create a calorie deficit.  But unfortunately, no magic.  It isn’t the super foods in the drink, it’s not the secret proprietary blend of fat burners that gives you the results.  The results come from easily creating a new habit that results in a calorie deficit.

The best way to be consistent is to find ways to modify your day that make it easier.  Most people start trying to create new habits by making large, sweeping changes to their lifestyles, then end up wondering where it all went wrong.  The key is starting with small changes that you know you can maintain.  Someone who never cooks isn’t going to wake up one day and start cooking 3 meals a day, every day.  It’s unrealistic, but a change like home cooking one meal per day or cutting down on meals eaten out at a restaurant might feel more attainable.  Once you have achieved consistency, and you are confident that you can stick to this one change, you can add to your routine from there.  Each new habit is a step towards your ultimate goal.

This also applies to the gym.  Someone who hasn’t stepped foot in a gym won’t be able to stick to an advanced level bodybuilder’s program.  This goes one of two ways: either they don’t lift heavy enough weight to challenge themselves (resulting in no changes) or they end up being so sore afterword that they need to take the rest of the week off just to recover and have to start back at square one the following week.  But by making the commitment to going to the gym 3 days a week, and starting a manageable beginner program they will see better results!  While a beginner program isn’t as fancy it will be something that leaves the trainee feeling better, seeing results, and able to come back for more on a regular basis; thus building a habit for the gym.  Note that some soreness and discomfort is to be expected, but that is not the only goal! Training until you’re unable to walk is beneficial to no one. If you want to get stronger you need to be able to consistently add weight to the bar, but that won't happen if you're so sore you can barely make it from your car into the gym.

New habits are hard! But anyone who has tried to break a habit, or create a new one already knows that.  It requires dedication, persistence, and a real understanding of why you want to create the new habit.  If you really believe in what you are doing, and you have a good reason for doing it, you’re more likely to stick to your habit when it gets tough.   And once something is a habit you have achieved true consistency. And the things that you can do day in and day out will yield results.

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