Habits are the building blocks of failure or success regarding your health and fitness.
As a personal trainer, I can tell my clients how to do squats, but getting them in the habit of doing squats is a different story. Everyone’s day has a rhythm to it, and when the rhythm doesn’t include a health and fitness mentality, that rhythm must be broken to make progress.
The most effective way to break the rhythm of someone’s day is to introduce small and innocuous habits. The best book I’ve read on this subject is Atomic Habits by James Clear. He covers the four components of habit formation: triggers, cravings, routines and satisfaction, and how they can be manipulated.
When I work with clients, I’m always tweaking their routines to make the process of exercise easier, that way, they can’t come up with any excuses not to get the job done.
For instance, instead of carving out an hour two or three times a week to workout, why not work out five minutes every day? Admittedly, 5 minutes isn’t enough to get you into tip-top shape, but it’s easier to work into your schedule than an hour.
More importantly, you develop the habit of exercise by not making excuses and refusing to take a day off from exercise. What will likely happen is that you’ll stretch that 5 minutes to much more once the habit becomes solidified. Sometimes it’s just the process of getting started and taking the first step that prompts you to take off and fly.
To make it even easier, what if every hour of an 8-hour working day you took one minute and did 20 squats? If you’re starting an exercise regimen and you haven’t exercised in years, that’s a lot of work, but breaking it down to one minute at a time makes it undaunting and doable.
Plus, you’ll have some powerful glutes and quads!
Remember that it’s the little things that make the big difference. If you master them, the bigger tasks become much easier.
Your bad habits don’t have to enslave you. They can take you as high as you want to go.