In this article we are going to review the importance of generating good habits in your life with the goal of facilitating the achievement of your physical goals.
The importance of habits
Have you ever wondered how there are people who can be so consistent throughout their lives in “difficult” acts to follow such as training, taking care of their diet, not drinking alcohol or not staying up late?
Well, in the principles of Helms (2019) and Norton (2023) we can see that adherence to a plan is the basis of their pyramids. This means that regardless of how good a plan may be or not, if we fail to sustain it over time our results will be diminished. Much of this attachment to a plan is determined by habits. Habit generation is something that takes time to build but is worth trying to develop. Speaking of Fitness, having good habits well established in your brain will allow you to combine your fitness life with other activities of your daily or “normal” life in a much easier and almost automatic way. In this article I will give you keys so that this is sustainable over time and you can achieve your goals.
What does it take to develop healthy and sustainable habits?
1.- Establish clear objectives
Fundamental and important point that you must establish with your coach so that together you can generate a realistic follow-up plan. When you have expectations that are too far away, you will surely start to sabotage your planning or simply give up because your goals will seem too far away. Establish short and medium-term goals that can be quantifiable and visible, for example; reduce a few centimeters from your waist, increase kilos on the bar in a squat, perform more repetitions with a certain weight, etc.
This point is crucial and key in almost everything we do in our lives when it comes to choice, Rachlin and Green (1972) defined self-control “as the ability we have to take rewards that, in time, take longer to obtain.” reach but have a much greater value, compared to taking rewards that are immediate but have a lower value. Does this sound familiar to you? Let’s take an example; When you can save money and not spend it on an unnecessary online purchase, you are choosing something for which you will have to wait longer (A larger sum of money to buy a car or a house) and that will surely give you personal satisfaction when you can buy it. very big. On the other hand, in fitness, When you have a craving for sweet or salty food and you give in, you are probably not thinking in the long term, you are looking for the pleasure that the highly caloric and low-nutrition craving can offer you immediately, compared to sustaining a long-term deficit, think about how your physique will look in a few months or a few years and continue with your plan. The same thing when you choose to skip a day of training to stay in bed or play video games, the above means that our behaviors must always be taken from self-control, thinking about those rewards that will give us enormous personal gratification. Think about how your physique will look in a few months or a few years and continue with your plan. The same thing when you choose to skip a day of training to stay in bed or play video games, the above means that our behaviors must always be taken from self-control, thinking about those rewards that will give us enormous personal gratification. Think about how your physique will look in a few months or a few years and continue with your plan. The same thing when you choose to skip a day of training to stay in bed or play video games, the above means that our behaviors must always be taken from self-control, thinking about those rewards that will give us enormous personal gratification.
3.- The context as an ally.
Your context greatly influences how these habits can be reinforced. Of course, there are variables that we cannot control, such as our genetics, the length of our arms, legs, or the width of our ribcage or hips. But there are other variables that you can put in your favor. Here are the key points:
- How do I manage my time? … Set schedules : If you set schedules for going to sleep/waking up, eating and training, it is easier for you to plan your day around this, for example; Go to bed and get out of bed at the same time on average, prepare a day before with your gym backpack, clothes and bottle of water, if you are an office worker, block spaces in your email calendar to remind you that it is lunch time or collation, etc.
- Prepare your meals and store them : Life currently demands a quick response capacity, when you prepare meals for at least two or three days and store them in tupperware, it is easier for you to continue with your eating plan, since you have already invested time and effort In addition, if you do the math, it is much cheaper than spending your fortnight buying fast food.
- How do I do my super intelligently? I suggest that whenever you go grocery shopping, take a list of purchases for your diet (so you roughly know your budget/spending) for the pantry and never go with an empty stomach, try to have already had at least one important balanced meal in macronutrients, this will generate the reason and not hunger that ends up choosing what goes in your cart.
- The ghost that hides in the pantry: If you consider that you still need to improve your self-control, I recommend that you do not store high-calorie, nutritionally low products in your pantry that will surely end up sabotaging your weekly or monthly average of calories. The ghost of a craving appears to you, it is better to generate a good relationship with food and when we have matured this point, integrate them little by little. Remember that what is forbidden causes desire.
- Where did the motivation go? You will not always be motivated or full of energy, sometimes you will have to use discipline, perseverance and determination. Remember that we seek long-term rewards with high value and it is the sum of all this that leads us to achieve it.
- You sleep… But do you really rest? As such, there is no indicator that is a standard rule and that determines how many hours a person should sleep, on average some studies suggest that the best would be to sleep between 6 to 8 hours, varying from person to person according to; the region, the age, the context, etc. Which means that you make your rest and your sleep quality, for this I share some tips;
- Do not consume sources of caffeine at least 6-8 hours before going to bed.
A good dinner balanced in macronutrients can favor your rest.
- Use blue light filters on your screen devices starting at 6 pm, so that the production of exogenous melatonin (a remote chemical messenger that you produce yourself) does its job.
- Try to reduce environmental stimuli as much as possible (such as eye masks, sleep as dark as possible and as isolated from noise).
- Also remember that if your rest is efficient, the regulating hormones of hunger (Ghrelin and Leptin) will do their job well the next day, helping you to be less hungry (In case you are in deficit).
How to start improving my habits?
- The nuance of colors matters, neither white nor black, always seek perseverance and patience over perfection; It’s better to do little at a time for a long time than to go from 0 to 100 and abandon your progress as soon as you get bored.
- Be clear and realistic with your goals, there are no shortcuts, what is worth it always requires investment and commitment. Sometimes it will be difficult but it will be worth it I assure you.
- Choose long rewards that have a much greater value over time than short rewards that will give you that feeling of immediate well-being. Not everything can reach your hands quickly and we have to live with it.
- Do you have cravings? Spice up your life and make your diet more flexible, there is no reason to starve yourself or follow the same diet of chicken, rice and broccoli as Mr. Olympia on duty, if you would like to know delicious and easy recipes check out https://health4fitness.website/
- Enjoy the process, the key to being able to enjoy fitness and connect it with your life is to really fall in love with what you do every day.
- Get enough rest and sleep; A good indicator that you have had enough quality sleep is waking up with a feeling of energy. If you find it very difficult to get enough sleep, remember that naps and powernaps can work in your favor.
- Share your progress on networks; The social factor is highly reinforcing and you could be a reference for other people who, like you, are starting out or for someone who reaches a point similar to yours.